In scientific terms, mold is a kind of fungus; it is microscopic and is only visible to the eye in huge quantities, also called colonies. Scientists believe that mold has been around for hundreds of millions of years and has evolved in such a way that there are many different kinds all over the world. To date, there are thousands and thousands of species of mold that can be found, each one possessing different properties and characteristics. Some have become extremely useful to mankind and can be found everyday in things we would least likely expect to find them in. Other species have become harmful to our health and have been an issue that doctors and scientists have tried to resolve ever since. The rest of the species of mold that cannot be classified are just out there, cultivating and slowly creating colony upon colony of mold. Man being the dominant species in this world, is now challenged to find more uses and innovative ways of using this very abundant organism to their advantage. There is such a vast array of mold in this world that there must be more practicality to them than the current uses that are present.
Growth of mold
In this planet, mold has thrived and escaped extinction and elimination because of its very low living and reproduction requirements. Basically, there are only three things that need to be present for mold to cultivate.
*Moisture - Molds thrive on moisture since it allows for a very conducive environment for them to reproduce. This is why mold can be found in so many different things in homes. In your clothing, food, unattended areas and the like, mold can grow because moisture is bound to find its way in to those things.
*Food - The next requirement is food which is basically any kind of organic material. Even dirt or the dead skin cells of people that fall off is enough for mold to start cultivating. What is so fascinating is that mold only needs trace amounts of organic material to begin thriving and eventually create a colony. It is a super efficient organism which is also why it has survived for so long.
*Temperature - The last requirement is that the temperature is just right to allow for mold to grow. The thing with mold is that the range of temperatures that it is likely to grow in is quite big and the normal climate in this world is well within its range thus its constant proliferation in almost anything and anywhere in this planet. This also explain how mold can also find its way to frozen foods at times as there are some species that can really thrive in extremely cold temperatures.
Over time, mold has evolved so much and gone through the many different changes of this planet, that its different species can withstand all such a wide array of environments. Extreme temperatures, high or low humidity and the other extreme conditions can still be conducive for the growth and cultivation of certain species of mold.
Mold in comparison to other organisms
As mentioned, mold has been around for a very long time, yet it has been able to successfully stave of extinction. Not even the very large and powerful dinosaurs or the innovative early mammals have been able to escape extinction yet this simplistic organism still lives today. Of course a main argument in this topic is that mold does not require a lot to survive and cultivate. Its basic necessities are present in almost any location around this world which explains its ubiquity. In effect it seems that its simplicity is the key to its longevity. Unlike other organisms that require different systems to function, it would seem that the survival of the fittest belongs to the simpler organisms in this world.
Mold at home
It is almost impossible to completely eliminate mold from the face of this earth or even just from your own homes. There are so many susceptible objects and areas that can allow for mold growth. Although, as mentioned, not all molds are harmful, it is very difficult for the average person to tell whether the mold present is good or bad. It is always better to play things safe and just get rid of it as soon as possible to prevent any future health concerns. Places that should constantly be checked for mold are the kitchen, bathroom and places where leaks may occur. Regularly cleaning these areas should prevent mold growth and give you some peace of mind regarding the safety and health of your household.
Benefits of mold
Although the common notion among people is that mold is harmful, it actually is extremely useful to all of us including our planet. If there is one thing that we should be able to appreciate about mold, it is its ability to decompose and decay organic material. If it were not for mold, our planet would be a wasteland of dead organic materials and bodies. Corpses, animal bodies, thrown away vegetables and the like are all slowly decomposed by mold and returned safely back into the soil of the earth. Also, a byproduct of the decomposition process is the creation of compost which is widely used in agricultural work.
Another huge benefit that most people do not realize is that mold is a vital ingredient in most of our food. It comes in the form of yeast which can be found in pastries, bread and many other food dishes. Yeast is a kind of mold that also allows dough to rise while it is baked.
Also another benefit of mold is how it helps in the fermentation process which is vital in the production of alcoholic beverages. Beer and wine all need the help of different organism such as mold while it is being produced. If it were not for mold, these drinks would never have been able to come into existence.
The last example that will be given is possibly one of the more important benefits that mold has to offer in our society. It is its ability to provide certain kinds of medicine like penicillin. Because of different breakthroughs in scientific research, people have discovered that some molds produce chemicals that have medicinal properties. This has created a lot of interest in analyzing the different mold species in hopes of finding better and more profound breakthroughs that can be useful to everyone.
As a recap, the different benefits of mold will be listed here:
*production of different kinds of food
*production of medicines
Although mold does have its many benefits and uses to man, there are still some species that can adversely affect human beings. It is not directly the fault of mold itself but due to the chemical that it produces which is called mycotoxin. There are many versions of this chemical depending on the species of mold that produces it but the general effect on human beings leads to undesirable symptoms.
Some of the symptoms that may occur after exposure to bad mold are the following:
*upper respiratory infection
These are just a few of the many symptoms that can show up during mold exposure and should be treated immediately. Some cases of mold exposure have been fatal because some people dismiss the symptoms as a common ailment. In the event of a mold infestation, it may not be enough to clean up the area as some ailments can also be caused by dead mold spores. Asking for professional help will be the only way to assure yourself that the safety of your house and the health of your family are no longer threatened by mold.
There are many different way of addressing the mold infestation in your house by yourself. But, before doing anything, it is important that you arm yourself with basic facts about mold. Knowing a thing or two about what you are about to clean up should give you a better idea on how you should approach the problem. After that, the following steps can be taken to eliminate the mold
1 Assess the situation and determine the root causes of the mold
2 Remove the root causes and dispose of them properly
3 Vacuum the visible mold that is left. The use of a high powered particulate vacuum is recommended to ensure that most of the mold spores are removed
4 Use a strong disinfectant or detergent to clean the non porous surfaces that could have come in contact with the mold or is in the nearby vicinity of the affected area
5 Use a mold removal solution on all the objects that may have been contaminated or may have come in contact with the mold
Following those steps should be good enough eliminate small mold infestations. For more serious cases, you may need to call a removal service to do the job for you.
Keeping the mold out
Assuming you are currently mold free, it is important that you keep things that way. Creating cleaning habits that address troubles spots or areas that are prone to molding is a great way of avoiding problems involving mold. It will also be very useful to know the three things that mold requires to survive. That means regularly cleaning up all the damp places around your house, cleaning up the dust and dirt before they accumulate and regulating the temperatures around the house using the different air conditioners available today.
It is obvious that mold will be here in this planet for quite some time. Instead of looking for ways to fight it and eliminate it, most people should start educating themselves on the many good uses that can provide. Of course it does have its downsides, but allowing yourself to see both sides of the picture should help you appreciate its importance in society. Mold can be good; unfortunately, not everybody knows that yet.