What is mold?

By Susan Brewer, Ph.D., University of Illinois,
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

The word fungus refers to a group of organisms that use other organic materials (often decaying leaves, food, wood, etc.) as their food source.  Mushrooms, yeasts, and mold are all forms of fungus. Mold is made up of many cells (rather than just one, as bacteria is) arranged in long threads. Mold are filamentous (threadlike).  They grow by extending their filamentous roots, which can invade foods.  Molds reproduce by producing a microscopic mushroom-like extension, (a fruiting body which may look like a mushroom). It produces spores (which are like seeds and which  protect the mold from adverse conditions).  Spores are spread through the air, water, and food.  Spores come in a variety of colors and  characteristics, depending upon the type of mold that’s growing.
wikipedia.org. “Mold.” 
wikipedia.org. “Fungi.”
Suite101.com. Reinhardt, D. 2009. “Importance and Significance of Molds and Yeast.”  “The Basic Features, Habits, and Characteristics of Mold and Yeast.” 


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