Chapter

Uninvited Guests

Nicholas P. Money

in Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780195172270
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199790258 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195172270.003.0002
 Uninvited Guests

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Black molds feed by secreting enzymes that dissolve complex molecules, like cellulose, as their filamentous hyphae insinuate themselves in their food sources. Many of the molds that grow in buildings represent single phases in complex microbial life cycles. The diversity of mold species is astonishing, but relatively few species are prevalent in homes. Molds have a variety of effects upon human health. Many provoke allergies, some are implicated in fungal sinusitis, and a small subset can cause life-threatening infections. Evidence of the ubiquity of black molds is found in the fact that their growth on the exterior of office buildings in cities is usually mistaken for the effects of pollution.

Keywords: enzymes; cellulose; hyphae; microbial; allergies; sinusitis; infections; pollution

Chapter.  7103 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microbiology

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