Molds in Food & Beverages
Molds are a large and taxonomically diverse group. They grow as multicellular filaments called hyphae. The network of a mold’s hyphae is considered a single organism and called a mycelium. There are thousands of known species with a wide range of lifestyles but all requiring moisture for growth. They include saprotrophs, mesophiles, psychrophiles and thermophiles.
A Universal Spoilage Organism
About a quarter of the world's food is believed to be contaminated by the mycotoxins of molds. Such toxins are produced by most molds under certain conditions an can infest food anywhere: in the field, in storage silos, in manufacturing facilities, on supermarket shelves and in the kitchen.
Molds as Pathogens
High levels of airborne mold spores can cause allergic reactions, asthma episodes, irritations of the nose, eye and throat, sinus congestion, as well as other respiratory problems. When mold spores are inhaled by an immunocompromised person, some of these spores may start to grow on living tissue, attach to cells along the respiratory tract and cause further problems.