While there are many types of Fungi, MicroscopeMaster will focus on mold under the microscope here.
Fungi is a taxonomic Kingdom that is composed of
well over 99,000 species including yeast, molds, smuts and rusts among others.
Being a very diverse category, Fungi may be single celled or multicellular
organisms that can be found virtually anywhere (particularly moist places)
(Moore, Robson and Trinci AP, 2011).
Also referred to as Mould, mold is a type of
fungi that is genetically similar to yeast. Like yeast, molds are also
eukaryotic and can be found in moist places. They are also decomposers and use
enzymes to breakdown dead organic materials (leaves, wood, plants etc) which
are sources of energy.
Unlike yeast, molds are more plant like with long
filaments that are commonly known as hyphae, which tends to grow on the surface
on inside the substance being broken down. According to Moore, Robson and
Trinci (2011) Given that mold grows by extension of the hyphae, a colony of
mold can grow to cover a surface of several square feet.
* Mold can often be seen growing on bread, fruits
and other organic substances. They are often grayish/green or white in color
and may be dusty at times. However, the color of any given mold is largely
dependent on the type of mold it is as well as the source of nutrient as well
as the age of the colony. As such, they are very common both inside and outside
Molds reproduce sexually or asexually to produce
spores, which look like little seeds. Sexual reproduction involves the mating
or two different hyphae to produce spores while asexual reproduction involves
the internal division or external modification of a hypha to produce spores.
can survive extreme weather and environmental conditions such as high heat and
cold and are often transported by air (wind) or water to new locations where
they start growing under the right conditions (Ryan and Ray, 2004).
Some of the most common types of mold include:
Stachybotrys - Also referred to as black
mold and has a slimy appearance. It is also known as toxic mold because it
produces mycotoxins that can cause respiratory problems.
- Common indoors and has
been associated with various ear, eye and respiratory infections
Cladosporium - Common indoors and grow
in both warm and cool areas. They are likely to be found growing on fabrics,
wood surfaces and floorboards and can also cause respiratory problems.
Mucor - Mucor are fast growing
molds that can be found on soils as well as conditioning systems. One of their
most distinguishing characteristics is that they have a thick texture
Acremonium - These are carcinogenic
molds that produce very potent mycotoxins. They often produce a very bad smell
and can be found indoors. Acremonium can have negative effects on the immune
system in addition to affecting other organs and mental abilities.
Although one can simply go out and find mold on
decaying organic matter, it is also easy to simply grow it using soft bread
without any preservatives, fruits such as oranges or potatoes. Some of the mold that is likely to grow
on bread includes rhizopus, neurospora, Aspergillus and penicillium. While this
is a very easy exercise, it is not recommended for those with respiratory
problems or allergies.
Leave the food in open air
for 30 minutes to an hour
Place the food (fruit,
bread etc) in a moist bag (plastic paper bag)
Place the bag in a dark and
Check after about 5 days -
If the mold has formed, it is ready for microscopy
* If bread is used, it is recommended using soft
bread without preservatives because mold will take a long time to grow on bread
with preservatives. It is also important to avoid inhaling the spores or
touching the mold with bare hands given that mold is an allergen.
Using a dropper, place a
drop of water at the center of a glass slide
Using a toothpick, scrap a little
mold off the bread and introduce it in to the drop of water in the glass slide
Gently place a cover slip
on the glass slide (at an angle to remove air and lower it gently)
Place the slide on the
microscope for viewing starting with low power to high power
* A drop of methylene blue can be added to
mentioned, there are many different types of mold. For this reason, what one
sees under the microscope will highly depend on the type of mold being viewed.
The following is an example of what Rhizopus would look like under the
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