Mold - where does it come from

  1. I'd like to know where mold comes from, for example
    if you have food that you let outside a few days, then mold
    is produced. But why?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. jcsd
  3. iansmith

    iansmith 1,430
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    Molds are present in the environment. The mold spore will come in contact with the food by accident during the time you have the container open. Once the spore contacts the food, it sense that the environments is favorable for multiplication. A few days or weeks later you have a nice mold on your food.
     
  4. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    Spores are very stable particles produced by molds that are dispersed into the air, these spores can germinate years after they are produced.
     
  5. What kind of mold grows on bread and makes it turn green? What other kinds of mold grow on food?

    How did the scientist, who discovered penicillan (sp?), know it could be used effectively for treating illnesses?
     
  6. iansmith

    iansmith 1,430
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    the effect of penicillin was discover by mistake. The scientist, Alexander Flemming, had poor aseptic techniques and poor waste disposal habits. One day he was cleanning plates that were left on the bench for a while. He was examinating everyone of them untill he saw that a no bacteria were present around a mold in the familly of the Penicillium. He then try a few experience and some people were able to isolate the active compound.

    Actually people have know about the antiseptic use of mold for centuries. In some eastern europe countries, it was a tradition to keep a bread with mold and to apply a slice of this bread on wound.
     
  7. Ouabache

    Ouabache 1,324
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    Molds are very much like plants, just cannot photosynthesize (no green color). And like plants, produce reproductive structures. Molds may produce spores, conidia, schlerotia etc . :bugeye: These resting structures are microscopic which is why you don't see them landing on your piece of bread..

    Monique is correct, that many of these resting structures will survive over long periods of time. Plants produce microscopic spores too (e.g. ferns, mosses, pine trees)

    The most common bread mold is Rhizopus a black mold
    see ---> http://www.backyardnature.net/f/bredmold.htm
    also see dark spores
    ---> http://www.skidmore.edu/academics/biology/plant_bio/fungi/Rhizopus - bread mold.jpg

    The Penicillium species, are more common on citrus fruits
    see ---> http://www.uoguelph.ca/~gbarron/MISCELLANEOUS/penicill.htm
    also see their fruiting structure with spores strung together on top ---> http://www.botany.utoronto.ca/ResearchLabs/MallochLab/Malloch/Moulds/Illustrations/Penicillium.jpg

    iansmith is correct that penicillin was discovered by accident.. I believe they were culturing bacteria (Staphylococci) and some penicillium mold spores contaminated thier plates.
    After incubation, they noticed the bacteria didn't grow within a zone surrounding the mold colonies. The mold must have been releasing something into the culture medium that inhibited bacterial growth. :rolleyes:

    Side note: Because bacteria have very short life cycles, their evolution is accelerated. Mistakes in their DNA sequence occur and are passed onto next generation. Some of these mutations allow them to survive when penicillin is present in your body, and those bacteria will multiply quickly. A good example of survival of the fittest. So it's best not to rely too strongly on one antibiotic, because their will be selection pressure for resistant bacteria and soon the antiobiotic no longer works. :cry:
     
  8. iansmith

    iansmith 1,430
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    Mold can be green and Cladosporidium can be an olive-green to olive-brown in colour. this is most likely the type of mold you will find in your food because the Cladosporidium are one of the most common mold.

    The Green colour, however, is not due to chlorophyll as Ouabache point it out. colour found on mold are often due to secondary metabolites or other secreted compounds.

    Yes it was and more specifically Staphylococcus aureus

    How Fleming discover penicillin

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Fleming

    We are lucky he was not working with E. coli, it is naturally resistant to penicillin. But it might have plated the wrong culture at some point :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2005
  9. Monique

    Monique 4,699
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    The color in molds is often related to melanin: it protects the mold from UV damage by absorbing the radiation [​IMG]
     
  10. I didn't know there are some European cultures that keep moldy pieces of bread to put on wounds. Did it actually work?
     
  11. iansmith

    iansmith 1,430
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    I don't think they keep moldy bread anymore but there is account from 18-19 century West european traveling to some east european countries that observed reduce infection of the wound when moldy bread was applied. I just can't remember the reference my prof told us

    Several fungi that grow on bread produce antibiotics. It would work. I just don't know how safe it is nowadays. However, back in those i would have taken the risk.
     
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