It is no secret that mold is mother nature’s way of taking out the trash. After all, without decomposition, there would be no room on the planet for us to live on since there would already be so much taking up space on the planet. However, when mold starts to show up on the walls of your basement, it is less of a helper and more of a hindrance. What’s more, there is a wide variety of mold species that exists on the planet. Over 100,000 to be exact. So, that leads to a couple of questions. Which ones are the most common in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area? Which ones are harmful or harmless? Where are they most commonly found? There is only one way to find out. With a little bit of research, you will have the answers to the questions you need.
Last week, we covered the Fusarium and Cladosporium. This time, we are going to cover Aureobasidium and Ulocladium.
This genus is most commonly found in almost any and every trace in all sorts of organic life. They are found in soil, fresh water, dead plant material, marine estuary sediments, food stuffs, textiles, fruits, painted surfaces, shower curtains, tile grout windowsills and wood. Did I mention that they could be found everywhere? There is a silver lining in this genus, namely that there are only 12 species that exist in the scientific community. However, they exist wherever there is even a single drop of moisture inside or outside.
It starts out its growth process via a pink or beige ring before it forms a slimy clump of brown or black, depending on its location.
It was first mentioned in a Canadian scholarly publication in 1910 from the National School of Agriculture of Montpellier in Nova Scotia by mycologist, Gabriel Arnaud. The only other information that I could find on him at the time was that he contributed to two more publications “Asternias” and “A Study of Parasitic Fungi.”
The worst that this mold can do is cause allergies, hayfever, and fevers induced by either humidifiers or possible pneumonia like symptoms from people who stay in a sauna where the mold is present. It has not been linked to mycotoxins as far as we know.
One species of Aureobasidium, Aureobasidium pullulans, is utilized to produce biodegradable packaging for both food and drugs. Another way it is used is to remove components from raw materials in textiles.
Just like Aureobasidium, the mold can be found practically everywhere if there is something decaying and moisture is involved. It typically can be found outdoors relatively easily, since there is often decaying wood and plant matter around. In homes however, it is much harder to grow. Ulocladium is a good sign for long term water damage, because it takes a good amount of moisture for this species of mold to thrive. That means, unless you put off taking care of that flooded basement or leaky pipe for a couple of months, you should be okay.
It was first indexed by American Mycologist Emory Guy Simmons, who contributed scientifically to both the University of Massachusetts and the United States Army during WW2. He had discovered many new species of mold and helped with the reclassification of asexual fungi.
Exposure to one of this species of mold Ulocladium charaturm, can cause typical hayfever for the most part. However, if you have a suppressed immune system, you could suffer both skin surface, and deep skin infections. While there is no evidence for the other species of Ulocladium to cause any pathogenic harm, there has been speculation among the scientific community.
Either way, it is important to err on the side of caution when dealing with mold in your home, pathogenic or not.
There are still plenty more to go when it comes to the species of mold that are not only dangerous but are commonly found in most homes. Even ones in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. The world of mold is fascinating and full of both helpful and hurtful examples, depending on its species, so it is important that you take the time to properly identify it and remove it before it can take a toll on your health. Remember the most important things you can do to increase your chances of remaining healthy while removing mold in your home:
- Wear proper safety equipment such as gloves, goggles, or a mask when handling mold.
- Get a testing kit to find out the best way to remove it
- Follow and enforce OSHA and CDC procedures and instructions when it comes to what cleaning materials you need to remove the mold with
If you do not feel comfortable handling the sudden appearance of mold in your home, you can always call a professional to do the job. Allied Crawlspace is here to help with your mold removal needs in the Chattanooga, Tennesee area.