Molds And Yeasts
In the created world, there are many types of organisms. Many of these are microscopic and cannot be seen nor appreciated until studied in a laboratory environment. Among these miniscule beings are yeasts and molds, which are both classified as fungi. Fungi are also known as “multicellular eukaryotic organisms.” Multicellular organisms are defined as living beings that are made up of many cells, and a eukaryote is an organism with organs that have a distinct membrane-bound nucleus. The family of fungi are just such organisms, and this group includes yeasts and molds, among other members such as mushrooms and algae. Fungi can be good or bad. Many people enjoy a good mushroom omelet. Vegetarians often delight in a shiitake burger, which is arguably a good use of fungi. A fluffy loaf of bread relies on the rising action of yeast for its light, airy texture. Bleu cheese is delicious when used sparingly. MadSciFAQ: Bread mold and other moldy foodstuffs states that these harmless fungi provide a wealth of flavorful treats. Yeasts and molds are not always harmless, however: many people are plagued with infections caused by these microbes.
Molds that grow in homes can be destructive and cause lots of respiratory problems, especially for people with weakened immune systems or who are prone to breathing issues. Such molds grow in dark, dank places, often basements and attics that do not have adequate air supply or light. These places are wet and warm: maybe a pipe leaks between layers of drywall. It could be that water is left standing in a humid bathroom.
Mold multiplies quickly and can “eat away” at construction materials and float through the air, causing havoc for the people living in the infested building. Molds Harmful Effects states that Stachybotrys and Chaetomium are a couple of examples of harmful household mold. This web sight also says that these molds can cause chronic bronchitis, mental deficiencies, heart problems, bleeding of the lungs, cancer and many other problems. Lots of times people are unaware that they are breathing in these molds because they usually have no scent and are not visible to the unaided eye. Mold usually grows in damp, enclosed places. To grow, mold needs moisture and an organic material which provides the nutrients needed to multiply and thrive, so says Mold in the Home. Mold grows fastest in a warm environment. Mold is usually airborne, so an enclosed space is the perfect breeding ground for these fungi. Molds can be purposely cultivated under such conditions in order to benefit mankind.
Molds are used to produce many of our antibiotics. Sir Alexander Fleming-Biography tells that Alexander Fleming, who was born in 1881 in Lochfield Aryshire, Scotland, was best known for being the bacteriologist who discovered penicillin. In 1928, Fleming accidentally discovered the bacteria-repelling mold in a culture of the bacteria Staphylococci that he was studying. This bacteria had been contaminated by a mold of the family Penicillium. Fleming noticed that the mold growing on the test plate was “blocking” the growth of the bacteria, and he decided to further his work with this mold. Penicillin, the name of the mold first discovered and studied by Fleming, was developed a few years later by Howard Florey and Ernest Chain into the first significant antibiotic in the 1940's. Penicillin was responsible for saving many lives during the World Wars. It also helped many others fight diseases and is still one of the main antibiotics used today. Other scientists, like Fleming, diligently pursued experimentation with molds and yeasts.
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) states that Louis Pasteur, born in 1822, discovered the science behind fermentation. This source also says that Fermentation, also known as zymology, is the process by which carbohydrates are converted to alcohol by yeast. This process is useful for producing many different wines and cheeses. Fermentation is also useful for baking, since it makes bread rise. Louis Pasteur wanted to know how this process could be used for more than just delicious food. Pasteur is known as one of the greatest benefactors of humanity. Pasteur helped us know more about rabies, anthrax, chicken cholera, and silkworm diseases because of his ardent research. His process, now known as “pasteurization” makes food safe for millions of people around the globe.
Although mold can be dangerous, it is important to modern human life because many of our antibiotics are made from molds. Mold is also useful due to the fact that it decomposes garbage; unfortunately without mold everyone would be living in tons of waste materials. Many gardeners purchase certain types of fungus to add to their compost piles to speed the decomposition process which produces rich fertilizer from common organic trash. The most common of the useful molds is bread mold which is also known as Rhizopus stolonifer. This bread mold grows easily in a kitchen that has damp or humid conditions and seems to arise out of nowhere.
Yeast and mold are everywhere. Some of these fungi are good and you can even eat them! There is mold in some cheeses, sauces, cakes and wines, and a fluffy loaf of bread is always appreciated. Unfortunately, these fungal cousins can also be very harmful. Scientists throughout history have manipulated the growth and uses of these organisms in order to kill disease and prevent infection. Humankind must have dominion over these fungi so that they are only used for good. If left unchecked, the danger of yeast and mold is imminent. If left in a moist, warm environment, mold can multiply too fast and cause many diseases and respiratory problems. In the home, keeping a flow of fresh air, wiping up any excess moisture, and lowering the temperature will help keep yeasts and molds at safe levels for most people.
MadSciFAQ: Bread mold and other moldy foodstuffs. Lynn Bry, MD/PhD. http://www.madsci.org/FAQs/micro/molds.html
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895). Seung Yon Rhee. 2009. http://www.accessexcellence.org/RC/AB/BC/Louis_Pasteur.php
Sir Alexander Fleming-biography. The Nobel Foundation. 1945.
Mold In The Home: Frequently Asked Questions On Mold 7 Mildew Removal. Dr. Nathan Yost, MD. 9/30/2008. http://www.realtor.org/realtororg.nsf/pages/moldfaq
Mold's Harmful Effects. PRWEB. Feb.21,2005. Vancouver, Canada. http://healthandenergy.com/mold's_harmful_effects.htm
Aspergillus under a microscope Sir Alexander Fleming