Facts about Mold Spores 

Reproduction of Mold Spores

Molds reproduce by sporulation. Small spores, may contain a single nucleus or be multinucleate. Mold spores can be asexual (the products of mitosis) or sexual (the products of meiosis); many species can produce both types. Because mold spores are reproductive, they are like fertilized eggs; each spore can generate a new mold. One mold colony can produce millions of spores in a day.

mold spores magnifiedReproducing mold releases vast numbers of mold spores into the air which is akin to the process of plant forms emitting pollens. They are invisible to the naked eye, ranging in size from 3 to 40 microns (human hair is 100-150 microns). They float in the air like dust and are so minuscule and light that the smallest movement of air can carry them quite far. Mold spores may remain airborne indefinitely, may cling to clothing or fur, or may be able to survive extremes of temperature and pressure.

Once the spore lands in a moist environment in the right temperature range, the components are activated and the spore germinates. Chemical changes within the spore take place in minutes, though the first hyphen extension, called a germ tube, may take several hours to appear. The germinating spore is called a germling. If the conditions are right, over the next few days the germling with develop into a mold colony. (info from Microbiology magazine)

Health problems can be caused by touching mold or by inhaling the mold spores, and issues can range in severity from mild to severe. Mold produces a variety of irritants and allergens, including toxic substances known as mycotoxins. It is thought that millions of people have allergic reactions to mold; symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, itching, headache and skin irritation.

Controlling mold spores

Because mold spores are so minuscule there is no reasonable, reliable and cost-effective means of eliminating them from environments that humans inhabit. So, trying to control mold growth through the elimination of mold spores is difficult at best.

The good news is that similar to pollen allergens, mold spores can be effectively removed from the air with a good quality HEPA air filter.  Air cleaners with medical-grade HEPA filters are very effective at removing mold spores and  allergens and in relieving the symptoms of mold allergies. In fact, symptomatic relief can occur within 24-48 hours of installing a HEPA filter. As with any filter targeting particulate, select a model with a large HEPA filter for best performance and long filter life.

More Mold Spore Factoids…

  • Cold and dry  conditions inhibit mold development.
  • House dust and soil contain many different species of mold.
  • Drying and heat are not effective in fighting mold. Ozone, fungicides containing phenolics and boiling will kill mold
  • Mold spores go hand in hand with decaying vegetation. They are virtually everywhere especially where vegetation is kept wet such as near golf courses or  irrigated farm fields.
  • Regions with  higher rainfall have higher mold spore counts than in arid or semi- arid locations.Mold spore walls are  thick protecting against heat and drying.
  • House dust and soil contain many different species of mold.
  • Mold spores are tiny enough to get past the nose’s normal filtering function (smaller than pollen). For people with mold allergies, inhaling spores can bring on asthma attacks.
  • Cold and dry  conditions inhibit mold development.