The most accurate way of identifying molds is by isolating and culturing. These identifications are based on growth characteristics, instead of spore appearance. Both surface & air samples can be submitted for culturing. Filamentous molds grown in a laboratory setting may, or may not, grow as anamorphs to the organism, as it grows in the environment. We therefore offer direct examination of mold samples as well.
Black mold on surfaces can be worrisome to people due to the coverage that Stachybotrys has gotten in the press. This organism produces spores that contain toxins. Killing these spores will ensure that the mold will not grow, but toxins will remain until the spores are removed. Aspergillus, which can also be black, is a notorious organism as well. Stachybotrys, Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Penicillium species are all known for causing allergic reactions, and have similar growth characteristics. To overcome these issues culturing is the best way to identify and distinguish colonies from one another.
Contamination can be from a single species to complex consortiums with many different species. It is important to realize that even a small amount of daily condensation can be enough to adequately sustain mold colonies. Unlike most bacteria and yeasts, molds are usually “spore” formers. Spores allow molds to remain viable for long periods of time.
We at AMS are not health professionals, so please consult a medical doctor for all matters relating to health, illness, or disease. Any information contained on this website, or on AMS analytical reports or literature, should only be considered in consultations with appropriate health professionals.