Molds and fungi usually found on book pages: identifying and preventing further spread

Molds and fungi usually found on book pages: identifying and preventing further spread

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

I know I can use bleach to kill most of the spores that live on my walls. I know I have to keep humidity below a certain level and temperature above another to prevent the spread of mold. I have read tons of websites on how to treat 'wall infestations'.

It's the mold that affects my books that worries me the most. Especially now that I've discovered a very enticing market for used books. You can find bargains but sometimes the books smell "of mold".

I would like to know more about the kind of molds (and/or fungi or other bio-monsters) that usually feast on paper. The paper that makes the pages of a book.

Can someone point me to any kind of resource with answers to the following questions?

  1. What are the most common biological causes of page deterioration? 1b. Can they be identified without lab instrumentation?
  2. Can they spread from one book to another, and if yes how and how fast?
  3. Can they be neutralized in some way (stopping the spread), or should one just burn the moldy books to avoid contagion?

I seek knowledge to protect knowledge.

Mold can grow in Extreme environments: they can live in very low water activity level, sometimes as lower as 0.71, live in refrigerator temperatures, these characteristics make it difficult to kill them thoroughly. You can search "paper deterioration" in Google or library, then you can find lots article about this.

1) Causes

Foxing and other white, fluffy coating or light yellow powder on paper caused by: Eurotium rubrum, E. repens, Aspergillus versicolor, Penicillium solitum, and Penicillium decumbens. (Karbowska-Berent, Joanna, Joanna Jarmiłko, and Jolanta Czuczko. Source: "Fungi in Fox Spots of a Drawing by Leon Wyczółkowski." Restaurator. International Journal for the Preservation of Library and Archival Material 35.2 (2014): 159-179.)

Black spots: Monilia, Aspergillus, Penicillium, Mucor, Stemphylium, Hormodendrum, Fusarium, Chaetomium, Byssochlamys Source: Beckwith, Theodore Day, Wilbur Harold Swanson, and Thomas Marion Iiams. "Deterioration of paper: the cause and effect of foxing." Publ. Univ. Calif., biol Sci. 1.13 (1940): 299-356.

2) Spreading

For their spread, I think the mold can spread everywhere, but i did not find any resource about it.

3) Method that kill the mold

Drying the affected paper objects and applying 70% ethanol are the most preferred options to stop active fungal growth. Source: Sequeira, Sílvia O., Eurico J. Cabrita, and Maria F. Macedo. "Fungal Biodeterioration of Paper: How are Paper and Book Conservators Dealing with it? An International Survey." Restaurator. International Journal for the Preservation of Library and Archival Material 35.2 (2014): 181-199.

  • The key to mold control is moisture control.
  • If mold is a problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem.
  • It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

Why is mold growing in my home?

Mold growing outdoors on firewood. Molds come in many colors both white and black molds are shown here.

Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

Can mold cause health problems?

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis).

Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.

This [guidance] provides a brief overview it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.

What is black mold?

Black mold or Stachybotrys chartarum is usually accompanied by a distinctive odor and is greenish-black in colour.

Black mold

Black mold is one of the most toxic molds that can be found in homes as it produces toxins called mycotoxins, which are capable of causing health problems in humans.

Symptoms of Sporotrichosis

The first symptom of sporotrichosis is a firm bump (nodule) on the skin that can range in color from pink to nearly purple. The nodule is usually painless or only mildly tender. Over time, the nodule may develop an open sore (ulcer) that may drain clear fluid. Untreated, the nodule and the ulcer become chronic and may remain unchanged for years.

In about 60% of cases, the mold spreads along the lymph nodes. Over time, new nodules and ulcers spread in a line up the infected arm or leg. These can also last for years.

In very rare cases, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, joints, lungs, and brain. This is more common among those with a weakened immune system. It can be difficult to treat and may be life threatening.

Mold and Moisture

SPECIAL NOTE: If you have questions about licensure of mold assessors or mold remediators in Florida, please review this Florida law. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation is responsible for licensing mold assessors and remediators.

*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF).  The free Adobe Reader may be required to view these files.

The Florida Department of Health has developed the following information to address some of the most common questions and concerns about indoor mold, how it affects human health, and ways in which you can prevent or remove it.

What are molds?
Molds are types of fungi. They grow in the natural environment. Tiny particles of molds are found everywhere in indoor and outdoor air. In nature, molds help break down dead materials, and can be found growing on soil, foods, plants and other items. Molds are also very common in buildings and homes. Mold needs moisture to grow. Indoors, mold growth can be found where humidity levels are high, like basements and showers. Molds produce microscopic cells called "spores" that are spread easily through the air. Spores can also be spread by water and insects. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold colonies when they find the right conditions.
What makes mold grow?
Mold only needs a few things to grow and multiply:

Many building materials (such as wood, sheetrock, etc.) provide food that can support mold growth. Even dust that has settled on these materials or furniture can be a food source for molds. Molds can grow almost anywhere there is enough moisture or high humidity. Controlling moisture is the key to stopping indoor mold growth, because all molds require water to grow. Moisture can come from:

  • Flooding from the outside (storm water, overflowing lakes, streams, storm surge, etc.)
  • Flooding from the indoor (overflow from sinks, tubs, toilets, air conditioner drain pans or sewerage systems)
  • Condensation (caused by indoor humidity that is too high or surfaces that are too cold)
  • Water leaks from outside the building (roof, walls, floors)
  • Indoor plumbing leaks or broken water pipes
  • Outdoor sprinkler spray hitting the walls, or indoor fire sprinklers
  • Poor venting of kitchen and bathroom moisture (steam from shower or cooking)
  • Humidifier use
  • Drying wet clothes indoors, or not venting clothes dryers outdoors (including electric dryers)
  • House plants (over watering, etc.)
  • Moisture from our bodies (sweat, wet hair on pillows, breath)
  • Warm, moist air from outdoors
  • Liquid spills

Should I be worried about mold in my home?
Yes and no. On the one hand, there will always be mold in your home in the form of spores and pieces of mold cells. The presence of mold in the air is normal. On the other hand, one should not let mold grow and multiply indoors. When this happens, your level of exposure can increase, thereby increasing the risk of potential health problems. Building materials, household goods and furnishings may also be damaged. Mold needs to eat to survive, and it's perfectly happy eating your home if you allow it.

What health problems can be caused by mold?
There are four kinds of health problems that come from exposure to mold: allergic illness, irritant effects, infection, and toxic effects. For people that are sensitive to molds, symptoms such as nasal and sinus irritation or congestion, dry hacking cough, wheezing, skin rashes or burning, watery or reddened eyes may occur. People with severe allergies to molds may have more serious reactions, such as hay-fever-like symptoms or shortness of breath. People with chronic illnesses or people with immune system problems may be more likely to get infections from certain molds, viruses and bacteria. Molds can also trigger asthma attacks in persons with asthma. Headaches, memory problems, mood swings, nosebleeds and body aches and pains are sometimes reported in mold complaints, but the causes of these physical symptoms are not yet understood. The toxic effects of certain molds are not well understood, and are currently a controversial topic in the medical and scientific community. There is evidence of specific long-term toxic effects from eating foods with mold toxins. Unfortunately, very little is known regarding the actual health risks from breathing in or skin contact with mold toxins. Allergic disease is now considered the most likely health problem related to mold exposures. Research into the possible health effects related to mold exposure continues today.

How can I tell if there is mold in my home, or should I test my home for mold?
Indoor mold growth can usually be seen or smelled. In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is not needed. There are no health or exposure-based standards that you can use to evaluate a mold sampling result. The Florida Department of Health does not recommend mold testing or sampling to see if you have a mold problem, or to see what kind of mold might be growing. Sampling for mold in the air can be expensive and, if done, should only be done by experienced professionals. Investigate a mold problem don't test.

  • Look for visible mold growth (it may look cottony, velvety, rough, or leathery and have different colors like white, gray, brown, black, yellow, or green). Mold often appears as a staining or fuzzy growth on furniture or building materials (walls, ceilings, or anything made of wood or paper). Look for signs of moisture or water damage (water leaks, standing water, water stains, condensation, etc.).
  • Check around air handling units (air conditioners, furnaces) for standing water. Routinely inspect the evaporator coils, liner surfaces, drain pans and drain lines.
  • Search areas where you notice mold odors. If you can smell an earthy or musty odor, you may have a mold problem.
  • If mold-allergic people have some of the symptoms listed above when in your home, you may have a mold problem.

How can I be exposed to mold?
Mold is virtually everywhere, floating in the air and on all surfaces. People are exposed to molds 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Exposures increase when indoor moldy materials become dried, damaged or disturbed, causing spores and other mold cells to be released into the air and then inhaled. Elevated exposure can also occur if people directly handle moldy materials or accidentally eat mold.

How much mold does it take to make me sick?
It depends on the situation and the person. This question is difficult to answer in the same way it's hard to say how much sun causes a sunburn: the amount varies from person to person. What one person can tolerate with little or no effect may cause symptoms in another individual.

The long-term presence of indoor mold may eventually become unhealthy for anyone. Those with special health concerns should consult a medical doctor if they feel their health is affected by indoor mold. The following types of people may be affected sooner and more severely than others:

  • Babies and children
  • Elderly persons
  • Individuals with chronic respiratory conditions or allergies or asthma
  • Persons having weakened immune systems (for example, people with HIV or AIDS, chemotherapy patients, or organ transplant recipients)

Are some molds more hazardous than others?
Some types of molds can produce chemicals called "mycotoxins". These molds are common, and are sometimes referred to as "toxic mold". There are very few reports that "toxic molds" inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions. If you think you have a mold problem in your home, you do not need to find out what type of mold you may have. All molds should be treated the same when it comes to health risks and removal. All indoor mold growth should be removed promptly, no matter what type(s) of mold is present, or whether or not it can produce mycotoxins.

What is Stachybotrys chartarum?
Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra) is a greenish-black mold that can grow on materials such as drywall or sheetrock, ceiling tiles and wood when they become moist or water-damaged. Not all greenish-black molds are Stachybotrys chartarum. Some strains of Stachybotrys chartarum may produce mycotoxins. Whether a mold produces mycotoxins depends on what the mold is growing on and conditions such as temperature, pH, humidity or other factors. When mycotoxins are present, they occur in both living and dead mold spores, and may be present in materials that have become contaminated with molds. While Stachybotrys is growing, a wet slime layer covers its spores, preventing them from becoming airborne. When the mold dies and dries up, air currents or physical handling can cause spores to become airborne.

Currently, there is no test to determine whether Stachybotrys growth found in buildings is producing toxins. There is also no blood or urine test that can tell if an individual has been exposed to Stachybotrys chartarum spores or its toxins.

How can Stachybotrys affect my health?
Typically, indoor air levels of Stachybotrys are low. As with other types of mold, at higher levels adverse health effects may occur. These include cold-like symptoms, rashes, sinus inflammation, eye irritation and aggravation of asthma. Some symptoms are more general - such as inability to concentrate or fatigue. Usually, symptoms disappear after the mold is removed.

How can I tell when Stachybotrys chartarum is present in my home?
Many molds are black but are not Stachybotrys. For example, the black mold often found between bathroom tiles is not Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys can be identified only by specially trained professionals through a microscopic exam or by cultures. The Florida Department of Health does not recommend that people sample mold growth in their home. All indoor mold growth should be removed, regardless of type.

How can I prevent mold growth?
Water is the key. Without it, mold growth cannot start, much less multiply and spread. The easiest way to prevent the mold from gaining a foothold is to control dampness. Keep your home clean and dry. When water stands for even 24 hours, common molds can take hold. Keeping humidity levels below 60% and venting moisture from showering and cooking to the outside are several ways to prevent the conditions that can lead to mold growth. Other ways include:

  • Clean and dry up spills within 24 hours
  • Dry out wet building materials and carpets within 24 hours
  • Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier to reduce the indoor humidity levels below 60%. If you have a central air conditioning system and need a dehumidifier to reduce relative humidity below 60%, you should have the air conditioning system examined for problems
  • Do not carpet bathrooms or basements
  • Note: While most experts suggest a relative humidity of less than 60%, below 50% is best for controlling both mold growth and dust mites. Dust mites are microscopic animals related to spiders, ticks and other mites. Dust mites eat mold and dead human or animal skin scales (flakes) and leave allergenic proteins. Dust mites reduce allergen production at these lower humidity levels.

How Should Mold Be Cleaned?
Mold should be cleaned as soon as it appears. Persons who clean the mold should be free of symptoms and allergies. Small areas of mold should be cleaned using a detergent/soapy water or a commercial mildew or mold cleaner. Gloves and goggles should be worn during cleaning. The cleaned area should then be thoroughly dried. Throw away any sponges or rags used to clean mold. If the mold returns quickly or spreads, it may mean you have an underlying problem, such as a water leak. Any water leaks must first be fixed when solving mold problems.  Additional guidance is available in the US Environmental Protection’s guidance: “A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home”.
If there is a lot of mold growth, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's guidance: "Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings". Printable versions of these and other guidance documents are available on the EPA’s Publications on Mold webpage. If the moldy material is not easily cleanable, such as drywall, carpet padding and insulation, then removal and replacement may be necessary.

Should bleach or other biocides (disinfectants, sanitizers, or fungicides) be used to kill mold?
Using bleach or other chemicals to kill indoor mold growth is not needed in most cases. The goal should be to remove mold growth by cleaning or removing moldy materials. Dead mold can still pose health risks if you are exposed. Using bleach or other disinfectants on surfaces after mold removal may be needed where people are thought to be susceptible to fungal infections (such as a person with immune system problems). Should you decide to use bleach or another chemical, please read and carefully follow the label directions and hazard statements (caution, warning, danger). Do not mix bleach with ammonia cleaners or acids, because a dangerous chlorine gas may be formed.

Should I use an ozone generator to address an existing mold problem?
No. Ozone irritates lungs, and is not likely to be effective at addressing an indoor mold problem. No one should expose themselves or others to ozone on purpose. Address the cause of the mold (usually moisture) and then remove the mold by cleaning surfaces or removing moldy materials.
Who should do the cleanup?
Who should do the cleanup depends on many factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself. However,

  • If there has been a lot of water damage, and/or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guideline: "Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although written about schools and commercial buildings, this document also helps when dealing with mold in other building types.
  • If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA's "Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), the Guidelines of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMM), the industry standards published by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) or other applicable guidelines from industry, professional or government organizations.
  • If you think the heating or air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold, read the EPA's guide "Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned?" before taking further action.
  • If you have concerns regarding your health before starting the cleanup, consult your doctor.
  • Note: The EPA suggests the following: "Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold - it could spread mold throughout the building". Unfortunately, it is thought that most, if not all, heating and air conditioning systems in Florida will support mold growth at some point. Stopping the use of an air conditioning system due to suspected mold growth would make most Florida buildings very uncomfortable during hot and humid weather. Should you turn off an air conditioner if a mold problem in the system is found? Ideally, yes. The system should be shut down while cleaning or mold removal is performed. If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water.

Whom can I call if I suspect that I have a mold problem, or if I want more information on mold?
For additional information about the health effects of mold exposure and information on the safe removal of mold, please call your County Health Department's Environmental Health Office, the Florida Department of Health, Radon and Indoor Air Program at 1-800-543-8279 , or review the respective mold webpages of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you have a mold complaint about an apartment, hotel or workplace, see our information on apartments and hotels or on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in workplaces.
What is the Florida Department of Health doing about mold?
The Florida Department of Health helps with mold issues through the following activities:

  • Providing technical assistance and advice to the public, County Health Departments, School Districts and others
  • Distributing current information and other resources on mold and moisture control
  • Help you with the identification of mold problems and advise you on investigation techniques and clean-up methods
  • Answer your questions about health effects and possible hazards of mold exposure
  • Provide mold prevention advice into public message and disaster response plans
  • Direct concerned people to the appropriate local resources or to the Florida Department of Health Indoor Air Program staff
  • The Florida Department of Health does not provide mold testing.
  • The Florida Department of Health does not provide support to professional consultants.

Where can I obtain additional information on the Internet?
All of the following links open in a new window.

Building Science Corporation
Contact and Feedback Information
Do you have comments, feedback or suggestions regarding this website? Broken links? Please let us know via email at [email protected] (NOTE:  Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing [F.S. 668.6076]).
Florida Department of Health
Division of Disease Control and Health Protection
Bureau of Environmental Health
Radon and Indoor Air Program
4025 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A08
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1720

The Radon and Indoor Air Program is part of the Public Health Toxicology Section, Bureau of Environmental Health, and the Division of Disease Control and Health Protection.

Observing fungi in a Petri dish

Students should examine cultures in containers, which have been taped and closed. Colony morphology is a method that scientists use to describe the characteristics of an individual colony of fungi growing on agar in a Petri dish. It can be used to help to identify them.

Colony morphology

A circular piece of bread that has been allowed to go mouldy.

Plate 1 contains a circular piece of bread that has been allowed to go mouldy. There is overgrowth on the plate and many different mould species can be seen. In between the two plates is a toothpick which was used to isolate the spores from one of the moulds from plate 1. The mould spores from the toothpick were inoculated onto malt extract agar, plate 2. Use the diagrams on colony morphology to help you interpret plate 2.

Two malt extract agar plates were exposed to the air outdoors and two malt extract plates were exposed to the air indoors. Use the diagrams on colony morphology to help you interpret the plates. Why do you think there are more moulds on the plates exposed to the outdoor air than the indoor air?

An excellent example of fungal mycelium. Use the diagrams on colony morphology to help you interpret the plate.

Different types of fungi will produce different-looking colonies, some colonies may be coloured, some colonies are circular in shape, and others are irregular. A specific terminology is used to describe common colony types. These are:

  • Form &ndash what is the basic shape of the colony? For example, circular, filamentous, etc.
  • Size &ndash the diameter of the colony. Tiny colonies are referred to as punctiform
  • Elevation &ndash this describes the side view of a colony. Turn the Petri dish on end.
  • Margin/border &ndash the edge of a colony. What is the magnified shape of the edge of the colony?
  • Surface &ndash how does the surface of the colony appear? For example, smooth, glistening, rough, wrinkled, or dull.
  • Opacity &ndash for example, transparent (clear), opaque, translucent (like looking through frosted glass), etc.
  • Colour (pigmentation) &ndash for example, white, buff, red, purple, etc.

Yeast colonies are very similar to bacterial colonies.

Moulds often have fuzzy edges. They usually turn into a different colour, from the centre outwards.

Everything you need to know about communicable diseases

A communicable disease is a disease that spreads from one person or animal to another. Pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi cause these diseases.

This article will discuss what communicable diseases are, their symptoms, and how to avoid them.

Share on Pinterest Communicable diseases can spread when people get close to each other.

A communicable disease is any disease that passes between people or animals. People sometimes refer to communicable diseases as “infectious” or “transmissible” diseases.

Pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protists, cause communicable diseases.

A person may develop a communicable disease after becoming infected by the pathogen. This may happen through:

  • direct contact with a person carrying the pathogen
  • contact with contaminated fluids, such as blood, mucus, or saliva
  • inhaling contaminated droplets from another person’s cough or sneeze
  • receiving a bite from an animal or insect carrying the pathogen
  • consuming contaminated water or foods

Once a pathogen has entered a person’s body, it will begin replicating. The individual may then begin to experience symptoms.

Some symptoms are a direct result of the pathogen damaging the body’s cells. Others are due to the body’s immune response to the infection.

Communicable diseases are usually mild, and symptoms pass after a few days. However, some can be serious and potentially life threatening.

Four main types of pathogens cause infection: Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protists.


Viruses are tiny pathogens that contain genetic material. Unlike other pathogens, they lack the complex structure of a cell. To replicate, they must enter the cells of other living beings. Once inside, they use the cell’s machinery to make copies of themselves.

Some different viruses include:


Rhinoviruses are a group of viruses that are responsible for the common cold. Symptoms of a cold may include:

A person can catch a rhinovirus by inhaling contaminated droplets from the cough or sneeze of another person.

Similarly, rhinoviruses spread by people touching their nose, eyes, or mouth after touching items or surfaces that have come into contact with the virus.


Influenza viruses are infections that attack the respiratory system. Some potential symptoms include:

A person can catch influenza viruses in the same way they may catch rhinoviruses.

HIV attacks the immune system of its host. This makes the person vulnerable to other infections and diseases.

A person can contract HIV as a result of contact with blood or other body fluids containing the virus.

The symptoms of HIV may develop gradually and in stages. They can include:

The only way a person can be certain they have HIV is to have an HIV test.

Although there is no cure for HIV, medications can help to keep the virus under control. Without such treatment, HIV can develop into AIDS.


Bacteria are microscopic, single celled organisms. They exist in almost every environment on earth, including inside the human body.

Many bacteria are harmless, and some help the body to function. However, bacteria can also cause infections that damage the body.

Some different types of bacterial infection include:

Salmonella and Escherichia coli

Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli) are two different types of bacteria that can infect the digestive system.

They typically spread through contaminated foods, such as uncooked meats, and unwashed fruits and vegetables.

Some symptoms of these infections include:


Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that primarily attacks the lungs. It may cause the following symptoms:

A person can catch TB by inhaling tiny droplets or “aerosols” from the cough or sneeze of a person who has the infection. However, the American Lung Association state that while TB is contagious, it does not easily spread from person to person.


Fungi are a type of organism that includes yeasts, molds, and mushrooms. There are millions of different fungi, but only around 300 cause harmful illnesses.

Fungal infections can occur anywhere in the body, but they commonly affect the skin and mucus membranes. Some different types of fungal infection include:


Ringworm is a common fungal infection of the skin. The characteristic symptom of ringworm is a red or silver ring shaped rash. It may be dry, scaly, or itchy.

People may contract ringworm in the following ways through close contact with a person who has ringworm. Alternatively, they can catch it from sharing towels, bedding, or other personal items with a person who has ringworm.

Without treatment, ringworm may spread to other parts of the body.

Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet. It typically causes sore or itchy white patches between the toes.

People can contract athlete’s foot through direct contact with someone who has the fungus, or surfaces that have been in contact with the fungus.

For example, an individual might contract athlete’s foot after walking barefoot in locker rooms, showers, or swimming pools.


Protists are microscopic organisms that typically consist of a single cell.

Some protists are parasitic, meaning they live on or inside another organism and use the organism’s nutrients for their own survival. Parasitic protists can cause various diseases.

The protist Plasmodium causes the tropical disease malaria. The parasite can pass from person to person through mosquito bites.


The prevalence of indoor dampness/moulds has been widely reported across countries, regions, and climate zones. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10%–50% of indoor environments in homes in, e.g., Europe, North America, Australia, India, Japan, are damp [1]. For example, a meta-analysis conducted by Haverinen-Shaughnessy [2] in houses from 31 European countries showed significant prevalence of indoor dampness: 12.1% for damp, 10.3% for mould, 10.0% for water damage, and 16.5% for combinations of two or more indicators. Excessive indoor dampness may cause building damage, initiate chemical emissions from building materials, favor microbial growth, and cause other potentially problematic exposures [3,4]. For example, mould species are more frequently cultured in damp indoor environments and potentially release allergens, mycotoxins as well as unpleasant smells (e.g., microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs)) to air [5,6]. This would lead to extra costs and manpower for the maintenance of building aesthetics and moisture control. Therefore, indoor dampness/mould problems have direct effects on building performance and quality of living.

Though it may not indicate acute health-related exposure risks for healthy people, inhalation of airborne mould spores is possible a source of allergens and activation of fungal sensitization, leading to allergic reactions in respiratory tracts for sensitive individuals. Consistent evidence has been provided in previous research that building dampness and moulds are significantly associated with incidences of respiratory symptoms, respiratory infections, and exacerbation of some diseases [[7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13]]. However, as exposure to indoor moulds is usually characterized with long term and low dose, the causal relations and underlying mechanism between mould exposure and asthma development have not been sufficiently explored.

It is known that indoor dampness/mould growth are closely related to building environments, especially the annual hygrothermal performances in buildings. With a global endeavor to optimize building design and policy making to reduce building energy consumption, high energy efficient designs, suitable insulation and sealing against air leakages are widely applied in both new buildings, renovated and existing buildings [14,15]. However, this meantime causes a dilemma in buildings between energy efficiency and indoor air quality [16,17]. For example, improved heat transfer coefficients of building envelopes and higher airtightness improve indoor thermal environments and reduce building heating/cooling demands while this possibly leads to lower air change volume, in turn causing extra moisture accumulation in buildings, which provides favorable conditions for indoor mould growth and results in a side effect for indoor air quality [18]. In light of such contexts, the relations of building energy efficiency implement and indoor mould growth risks are still insufficiently understood. Whether appropriate building standards or guidelines are available regarding indoor humidity and mould controls entails a further exploration.

Regardless of several review studies on building mounds, majority of them focus either on the associations with human health from an epidemiology perspective, or predications and preventions of mould growth from building technology perspective [7,11,[19], [20], [21], [22], [23]]. Few studies have holistically considered the mould exposure characteristics centering around the close relations with building/indoor environments. Therefore, the objective of the analysis in this paper is to review the scientific literature on indoor mould occurrence, to assess the growth characteristics, main species in homes and sources, quantitative evaluation based on the current research findings. Since the building designs and managements would significantly affect the indoor thermal environments, the review also aims to discuss the influences of existing building designs and standards on indoor mould exposure risks.

High Yeast Diets Increase Chances of Mold

Skin is the largest organ of the human body. It also tends to be the last place on your body that shows signs of inner problems. Many of your body’s waste products are secreted out of your skin through sweat glands and pores. Many times, if too many yeast containing products are consumed, there is an over abundance of yeast in the blood, which can result in yeast infections, or in an outbreak of mold on the skin.

Always consume a healthy, balanced diet that doesn’t contain high amounts of yeast. If you do notice mold growth on your body, always seek professional help from a licensed dermatologist. A dietitian may be required to assess and modify your diet.


If your body is already dealing with a problem, such as an infection, reduced immune system, or other problems, your natural defenses are compromised, and mold is more likely to get a foothold on your skin.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Disease management is important for producing acceptable yield and quality of cruciferous crops such as cabbage, cauliflower, canola, rutabaga, grown for the fresh market, the processor, and for storage. Diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi, as well as physiological disorders, are all found in cruciferous crops in Ontario. This Factsheet discusses the biology, recognition, and management of diseases of crucifers caused by fungi.

Damping-Off and Wire-Stem

Damping-off disease affects crucifer seedlings grown in flats and seedbeds, or in the field. Damping-off is normally caused by soil fungi such as Pythium and Rhizoctonia. Seed and young seedlings are attacked and may rot before they emerge or topple over a few days afterwards. When older seedlings are attacked by Rhizoctonia, the lower stem becomes constricted and dark-brown near the soil surface, a symptom called wire-stem (Figure 1). Such plants may die when stressed, break over in strong winds, or produce a stunted, unmarketable crop.

Disease Management

  1. Avoiding damping-off begins with the use of vigorous, treated seed, pasteurized soil in new or disinfested flats and disinfested equipment and greenhouses.
  2. Avoid overcrowding of the seedlings to improve ventilation and drying-off of the crop and soil. Damping-off fungi thrive under moist conditions.
  3. Plant seed at the proper depth in well-prepared, moist, warm soil. Retarded seed germination and emergence make seedlings more susceptible to damping-off fungi. Seeding outdoors should be no deeper than 4.0 cm at a soil temperature of at least 10°C.
  4. Soil amendments such as composted tree bark, when added to the potting mix, have been shown to suppress damping-off.
  5. In greenhouses and cold frames, water seedlings only as necessary, with pre-warmed water, ensuring adequate drainage. Waterlogged soils promote damping-off.
  6. Maintain optimum growing conditions. Plants which are "leggy" from insufficient light are weak and prone to attack by pathogenic fungi. Avoid excessive fertility which promotes succulent growth or salt accumulation, both of which favor disease. Banding fertilizer close to the seed may delay emergence. Additional management practices are suggested in OMAFRA Publication 363, Vegetable Production Recommendations or damping-off and wire-stem.


Black-leg, caused by Phoma lingam (Leptosphaeria macutans), is of major concern in crucifer production. Sources of the fungus include infested seeds, cruciferous weeds, and residues of cruciferous crops remaining in or on the soil. The fungus often kills seedlings or produces sunken, black cankers at the stem base which stunt the growth of surviving plants (Figure 2). Yellow to brown, circular spots with grey centres appear on the leaves. The presence of tiny, black bodies (pycnidia) on these cankers or leaf spots is characteristic of black-leg (Figure 3). The black bodies contain millions of spores of the black-leg fungus which ooze out and spread during wet weather.

Control measures for black-leg are similar to those for bacterial black rot and include treatment of seeds with hot-water or fungicide, and avoiding work in an infected field when foliage is wet. However, rotation with non-cruciferous crops and complete control of susceptible cruciferous weed hosts for four years are recommended if black-leg has been severe. Because disease progresses rapidly in wet conditions, crucifers should be planted in well-drained fields which dry out quickly.

Figure 1. Wire-stem on red cabbage plant. Note constricted, 'wiry' stem. (white arrow, actual size)

Figure 2. Phoma cankers on cabbage stems. Note similarity to wire-stem. (white arrow, 0.3x actual size)

Figure 3. Pycnidia (black bodies) of Phoma on cabbage leaf. (3x actual size)


Club-root, caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae, is a destructive soil-borne disease which affects nearly all cultivated, as well as many wild and weed members of the cabbage family. The fungus enters root hairs and wounded roots, and multiplies rapidly, causing abnormal enlargement of the underground stem, taproot, or secondary roots (Figure 4 and Figure 5). These roots often decay before the crop has matured, releasing many resting spores which can survive for a decade in the absence of a susceptible host plant.

Figure 4. Clubroot of cabbage. (0.6x actual size)

Figure 5. Clubroot of rutabaga. (0.4x actual size)

Infection and disease development are promoted by acidic or neutral, cool, wet soil, and are spread in contaminated soil, water, manure, or on equipment. However, club-root can occur in alkaline soils when inoculum levels are high, soil moisture is greater than 70% of field capacity, and temperatures are favorable (17-23°C).

Because there are several races or strains of the club-root fungus, cruciferous crops bred for resistance often give inconsistent results when grown in different locations. Due to its long persistence (10 years or more) in soil, the fungus is not readily avoided by crop rotation. Growing crucifers in well-drained, warm soil, eradication of related weed hosts, fungicidal soil drenches, and lime application to maintain pH above 7.2 are, when combined, the most successful methods of control. The addition of limestone to bring soil pH over 7.2 is the best means of control. Agricultural limestone takes a minimum of one year to effectively change the pH. For faster activity a minimum of 1700 kg/ha hydrated lime can be added (regardless of soil pH) at least six weeks prior to field transplanting. Hydrated lime changes soil pH only temporarily. Agricultural limestone is effective for several years.

It is important, however, to use clubroot-free locations for outdoor seed beds. Do not add hydrated lime in seedbeds, as it may mask the presence of the fungus, and allow it to move with the transplants to the field, where subsequent infection may occur if soil pH is favorable.

When transplanting, discard all plants in a lot if clubroot is found on any seedling. Others may be infected and not yet show symptoms. If transplanted, they will infest that field with the fungus.

Fusarium Yellows

Symptoms of Fusarium yellows or wilt, a soil-borne fungus, caused by Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. conglutinans, resemble those of black rot. Affected plants are stunted, lopsided, yellowed, lose most of their lower leaves, and have a brown to black discoloration in the veins (Figure 6 and Figure 7). However, yellows may be distinguished from black rot because leaf dieback progresses from the petiole or midrib outwards, affected leaves are usually curved laterally, leaf margins may have reddish-purple discoloration, and pockets of dark discoloration are not associated with the vascular system when crucifers are infected with the yellows fungus. Fusarium yellows is a "hot weather" disease, and thus is rarely seen in early cole crops.

Figure 6. Plant and leaf of cabbage affected by Fusarium yellows. Note stunted, lopsided plant, lower leaves missing, brown vascular and yellow leaf discoloration, and curvature of petiole and midrib. (0.2x actual size)

Figure 7. Section of cabbage field affected by Fusarium yellows. Note yellowed plants in centre and right of picture, surrounded by healthy plants.

Due to its persistence in soil without host plants, this fungus is very difficult to control by crop rotation and other methods. Monogenic dominant resistance has been incorporated into many varieties of cabbage and some radish and Brussels sprouts, but none is currently available in cauliflower and broccoli. This resistance is noted in many cultivars listed in OMAFRA Publication 363, Vegetable Production Recommendations.

Sclerotinia Blight

This disease, also known as white mold or white rot, is caused by the fungus Scierotinia sclerotiorum. This fungus attacks not only crucifers but also a wide variety of other crop plants in field and storage. Plants are infected from seedling to maturity by wind-blown spores, or directly by fungal strands arising from hard, black fungal bodies called sclerotia. Water-soaked spots appear anywhere on the plant, usually on leaves nearest the ground, or on the head. Affected tissue often turns grey, giving rise in wet weather to fluffy white mold which eventually is dotted with black sclerotia in the field or storage (Figure 8 and Figure 9). Pale grey-bleached spots, stem-rot, stunting and premature death may occur in fields of canola, beginning during flowering, especially in dense plantings.

Figure 8. Sclerotinia blight on savoy cabbage. Note grey leaf discoloration when tissue is dry. (0.3x actual size)

Figure 9. Sclerotia of Sclerotinia embedded in white, fluffy mold and decayed leaf tissue. (white arrows, actual size)

Because the sclerotia persist in soil and the choice of resistant crops is limited, short-term crop rotation is not an effective control measure. At least three years of non-host crops (cereals, corn, grasses, onions) are required to reduce the probability of problems due to the fungus. Do not plant canola near or in fields of canola, beans, peas, soybeans, sunflowers, or other crops which had a history of white mold. Use only seed free of small sclerotia - only spiral cleaners can remove such sclerotia.

Downy Mildew

Downy mildew, caused by Peronospora parasitica, may be a serious foliar disease of all cruciferous crops. Susceptible hosts include canola, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, rutabaga, radish, horseradish, Chinese cabbage and mustards, ornamentals such as stock, wallflower, and aubretia, and many cruciferous weeds. However, there are several pathogenic varieties (physiologic races) of the fungus which attack different groups of, but not all the aforementioned, cruciferous hosts.

Overwintering mainly in crop debris, on cruciferous weeds, and occasionally on crop seed, downy mildew fungus becomes a problem in early spring, late summer, and fall during damp, cool weather. Beginning with lower leaves, small yellow-brown spots appear (Figure 10) which eventually expand and develop greyishblack lace-like markings (Figure 11). In moist weather, bluish-white downy mold is apparent on the underside of these leaf spots (Figure 12). Abundant sporulation and rapid disease development occur at greater than 98% relative humidity, when leaves are wet, and at 8-16°C. Downy mildew becomes severe in several days under these conditions especially when plants remain wet until mid-morning. In cauliflower and broccoli, symptoms may occur as pale brown or greyish discoloration on the curd (flower), or grey to black spots and streaks on the stems below the curd. Cabbage heads in storage also may be penetrated by greyish-black discoloration, as well as becoming susceptible to secondary rot pathogens.

Figure 10. Early symptoms of downy mildew on broccoli leaf section. Note yellow-brown spots. (0.5x actual size)

Figure 11. Advanced symptoms of downy mildew on cabbage leaf, showing greyish black lace-like markings. (2x actual size)

Figure 12. Blueish-white sporulation of downy mildew on broccoli leaf. (2x actual size)

Some resistant varieties of broccoli and canola are available. Accurately timed fungicide sprays on vegetable crops, seed treatment, crop rotation and mustard-weed eradication are recommended control practices. Furthermore, unless all diseased crop refuse is plowed under promptly after harvest, downy mildew (and other diseases) will continue to spread into nearby crucifer plantings by wind-blown spores. Volunteer plants such as rutabagas should be destroyed, since they may harbour downy mildew as well as other diseases from year to year.

Alternaria Leaf Spot

In contrast to downy mildew, Alternaria leaf spots, caused by Alternaria brassicae and other related species, usually occur during warm, moist weather. Yellow-brown spots with target-like concentric rings appear on leaves (Figure 13), as well as dark brown sunken spots on heads of Brussels sprouts (Figure 14), broccoli, and cauliflower (Figure 15). These spots contain many spores which are spread by wind, rain, or on equipment and people. Spores require at least 9 hrs. of moisture to germinate and infect the plant. Older, senescing plant parts are more susceptible to infection.

Figure 13. Alternaria leaf spots on cauliflower leaf. (0.5x actual size)

Figure 14. Small, dark brown Alternaria spots on Brussels sprouts. (actual size, black arrow)

Figure 15. Sunken, velvety, cark brown spots of Alternaria on cauliflower curd. (2x actual size)

Avoid overhead irrigation during head development, eradicate cruciferous weeds and practice long rotations with non-cruciferous crops. The fungus persists on crop debris and wild crucifers and on or in seed. Hot-water seed treatment will eliminate both internal infection and external infestation of seed, while fungicide seed treatment will only control spores on the seed. Provide adequate coverage with fungicides, especially in wet weather from summer until harvest.

Controlling Crucifer Diseases

A generalized disease control program for cruciferous crops is as follows:

A) For producing transplants or direct seeding:

  1. Be sure to use resistant cultivars as much as possible.
  2. Consult your seed catalogues, seed company representatives, and crop specialists for further information on available resistant cultivars.
  3. Use only new vigorous seed with high percent germination. Old, improperly stored seeds germinate more slowly, producing weak plants which are more susceptible to disease.
  4. Use seed which is certified free from black-rot bacteria and Phoma, and has been treated with hot water and fungicides to control seed-borne diseases. Even though hot-water seed treatment may reduce germination, simply conduct your own germination test. Calculate the percentage germination after seed treatment, and sow extra seed to supply enough plants for your needs. Canola seed treatments are listed in OMAFRA Publication 296, Field Crop Recommendations.
  5. Sow seed in soil which has been fumigated (seedbeds) or sterilized (greenhouse). If fumigation is uneconomical, sow seedbeds in land which has grown no crucifers for at least 2 years.
  6. Use only new or sterilized transplant flats and greenhouse equipment.
  7. Be sure seeds are not too dense, and provide optimum conditions of ventilation, watering, fertility, temperature, and light for growth (see previous section on damping-off).
  8. Locate field-growth seedbeels away from existing crucifer crops to avoid introduction of disease.
  9. Maintain weed-free seedbeds, cold frames, and greenhouses.
  10. Use well-timed applications of insecticides and fungicides, according to recommendations in OMAFRA Publications 363 and 296.
  11. Avoid run-off from land currently or previously growing a cruciferous crop, either directly, or indirectly in irrigation water.
  12. Inspect the seedlings regularly, removing and destroying localized infections ("hot spots") early.
  13. Avoid dipping plants in water or trimming them before transplanting in the field, as this can easily spread bacteria and fungi.

B) In addition, transplant or direct seed into fields which have:

  1. Warm, well-drained soil, with pH greater than 7.2 if club-root has been a problem.
  2. Adequate, balanced fertility.
  3. Adequate weed control in field and headlands, especially of volunteer cruciferous crops, and cruciferous weeds, such as wild mustards, shepherd's purse, pepper-grasses, wild radish [see OMAFRA Publication 505, Ontario Weeds for identification of weeds in the Mustard (Cruciferae) family].
  4. Not grown crucifers for at least three crops, and which does not have evidence of former cruciferous crop residue on or in the soil.
  5. Continued use of pesticides as necessary for insect and disease control.
  6. Adequate sanitation practices, such as removing infected plants if practical, incorporating diseased crop refuse promptly, burying cull piles of rutabagas or other crucifers remotely from growing areas, working in the field only when the foliage is dry, avoiding sprinkler irrigation of the diseased fields.

C) When buying transplants, insist on the following precautions in the contract:

  1. Written verification of seed lot # and source dates of pulling, shipping and receipt pest-control schedule used in the crop, and the transit conditions.
  2. Certification of disease-free transplants from area where transplants are inspected by regulatory authorities prior to and at pulling time, e.g., transplants from southern U.S.A. should have certification.
  3. Written statement that transplants were not "topped" with mowing machinery which could spread disease, and that only new packaging material was used.

By using the above management tools appropriately, disease problems in cruciferous crops can be minimized. For further information, consult the book, Diseases and Pests of Vegetable Crops in Canada, ISBN 0-9691627-3-1, the OMAFRA publication, Integrated Pest Management for Crucifers in Ontario, Order No. 701, or an OMAFRA Vegetable Specialist.