Diagram of a Spore of Aspergillus Germinating on a Starch Substrate – Courtesy of George Barron.
Mould spores germinate when the environmental conditions are right – they need moisture, food and the correct temperature range for that particular mould species.
As it grows, the spore sends out hyphae (similar to the roots of a plant) and these hyphae release enzymes into the food source to break it down so it can be absorbed (blue arrow).
The enzyme breaks down the starch in the food in to glucose, just like happens in a persons stomach – this glucose is water soluble so can be absorbed by the fungus.
Free living bacteria (dark blue dash) found in the same area take advantage of the ‘free’ glucose and multiply rapidly adding to the potential health hazard to occupants created by the mould growth.
To protect the food source for its own use, some fungus release antibiotics (red arrows) to stop the competition from bacteria – this adds another biological chemical to the mould hazard!!!
Because of all this microbial activity the only way to protect your family or employees health from the hazards associated with indoor mould growth is to find and fix the moisture source, then physically remove the mould growth and all the associated spores, hyphae, bacteria and other microbial hangers on.
If you don’t fix the moisture source the mould will simply return; if you don’t completely remove the mould and the associated microbes they will continue to affect the health of the occupants.