Where Does Mold Come From?
Food that is left in a warm, damp place for several days often becomes covered with a fuzzy patch of mold. Mold is really a tiny, simple living microorganism, a part of fungi. Fungi aren’t plants, and they aren’t animals.
Fungi “eat” by releasing enzymes that break down their food into a form the fungi can absorb. It does not grow from a seed but from tiny bits of powder called “spores.” The spores are carried about by air currents.
These spores in the air settle on damp foods and grow into new molds. If you examine a patch of mold with a magnifying glass, you will see a tangle of thread-like growths that cover the moldy food.
Molds come in many different colors, from black to blue to green. Mold may look gross, it may be hard to clean up, and it may even cause allergies and breathing problems in some people, but mold isn’t all bad.
There are quite a few medicines made from mold, including penicillin, which is used to treat illnesses like strep throat. Mold is even used to produce some kinds of food, like soy sauce and certain types of cheese.
Fungi of all sorts are important in helping decompose (break down) organic matter, and fertilize the soil.