The risks of mold for health and the home


Emma Potter

How to recognize the type of mold?

A'microbiological investigation helps to understand the type of mold present, evaluate the level of contamination And plan conscious interventions.

Sometimes inadequate treatment can break a balance and trigger more accelerated deterioration phenomena.

What are the conditions that favor the spread of mold?

The dew point is the temperature at which theMoisture in the air condenses on cold surfaces, causing mold formation. Air humidity is measured in grams per cubic meter and a percentage higher than 60% could favor the growth of some coloniesmodifying not only the thermal comfort of the location, but also the quality of the indoor air.

Molds feed mainly on organic materials such as paper, wood and fabrics and can proliferate in the presence of dust, etc… even finding a minimal substrate on inedible surfaces.

In very humid environments, the condensation of humidity can favor the formation of mold spores, which can remain in the environment for a long time; adapting to different environmental conditions and can be present in various species depending on the living environment.

The spores have the characteristic of remain inactive for a long time, until the perfect conditions for their germination.

How to identify the right biocide?

When we find ourselves faced with a significant contamination, it is useful to carry out withdrawals accurate on different zones and depths, or perform a wise with Bio-Tape and relative Petri dish with Sabouraud Agar culture medium, known as (SDA) having a Ph of approximately 5/6 in order to improve growth, subsequently carrying out monitoring at 5 and 10 days of incubation, in so as to be able to define which biocide or alternatively which EOs to use.

There are a number of available on the market valid biocidesin my opinion, it is only necessary to identify the most suitable one, or the one to which the fungus appears to be less resistant. His resistence is given by the depth of the Hyphae (roots) penetrated inside the micro-cavities of the support, by the residence time, etc… it is also true that there are broad-spectrum biocides, but I think (regardless of the brand) that it is it is more prudent to use a targeted product. Therefore the identification of mold colonies and the testing of biocides allow taking targeted decisions for sanitation of the contaminated environment.

How is mold made?

Multicellular mold. The constituent unit of mold is the hypha. Ifa is filamentous and can be of various types:

  • aseptated;
  • set;
  • mono;
  • multi-nucleated.

The hyphae they grow forming compact tufts, called mycelium. The mycelium is made up of two parts:

  • aerial reproductive function;
  • vegetative in contact with the substrate, which has a trophic function.

From the aerial hyphae can form spores called conidia (asexual spores, i.e. not derived from the fusion of gametes). These turn out to be resistant to dehydrationwhile the conidia allow the spread of the fungus.
THE conidia they give the characteristic dusty appearance to mold as we see it growing on wall supports.

Between more allergenic species we can find Aspergillus, Penicillium, Alternaria and Cladosporium.

These types of mold do not only proliferate in damp spaces such as bathrooms, attics and cellars, but can also find favorable conditions in the soil outside homes, on decaying leaves, etc… Their ability to adapt and proliferate in various environmental conditions, makes them particularly insidious and tenacious to treatments.

The risks of mold to health and the home Spore

The factors that regulate the development of mycotoxins and the types of fungi

The factors that regulate the development of mycotoxins are:

  • water/humidity;
  • oxygen;
  • time;
  • temperature;
  • Ph of the support added to the Ph released by the hyphae.

I am over 150 the species of fungi that can produce mycotoxins and mainly fall into the genera:

  • Aspergillus;
  • Penicillium;
  • Fusarium;
  • Alternating;
  • Trichothecium.

How to prevent mold formation?

In order to develop, fungi require the presence of humidity in the atmosphere and around the 13% amount of water on the substrate.

Molds are aerobic microorganisms, although they can grow with O concentrations2 very low, just think that only 4% is needed to give them a new life. We must also take into account that a fungus can develop different toxins at different temperatureshigh temperatures favor the development of Aspergillus, while low temperatures favor the development of Fusarium.
Therefore it is not possible to think of treating Aspergillus and Fusarium in the same way, as it turns out to be the pH released is differentin addition to the depth of establishment of their hyphae on the support.

It is important to remember, that “mold” even when it is dead is an allergentherefore it is not enough just to kill her, but it must be removed from the support by mechanical actionby doing so we are sure that it is not covered
next painting, mechanical removal must still take place after its successful eradication(always using suitable PPE), to avoid transporting its spores on supports that are not yet contaminated, given that they are only a few microns in size.

For prevent mold formation it is important to maintain correct ventilation of the rooms, avoiding stagnation of humidity, check for any water leaks and restore any infiltrations.

What to do in case of severe contamination?

In case of severe contamination of the supports, it is advisable to request the intervention of a professional (also with the help of a microbiology laboratory), who knows how to adequately treat biological contamination, with reclamation and dehumidification interventions to avoid carrying out unsuitable surface treatment, damage to surfaces and health risks; just think that mold, when present, is only one of the elements of indoor pollution.

This is my commitment to researching targeted biocides, aimed at eradicating the contamination of supports.