The green, furry mold mushrooms that appear on bread and cheddar cheese are not very appetizing. Their mere presence raises the question: Why is mold so blurry and is this fluff dangerous?
The short answer to the first question is that Fuzz is a sign that the mold can reproduce.
"Fuzzy mold fungi are billions of microscopic spores waiting to be carried into a new environment," explains Megan Biango- Daniels, a mycologist and postdoctoral fellow at Tufts University, told Live Science.
Related: Is it safe to cut off the shape and eat the rest?
If you see a green mold on bread or a dusty white mushroom on a forgotten tangerine, you are experiencing an important moment in the tool's life cycle. It is the moment when the white horse prepares to send genetic copies of itself into the world, in the hope that some will find a home in which they will settle, earn an honest living by digesting food and their own own offspring can multiply.
Mold fungi multiply by producing a large number of reproductive cells called spores. Spores, in a sense, resemble but do not contain the food reserves that seeds can rely on as they germinate. Spores usually require more favorable conditions before they can advance to their next life stage.
"Looking at molds, one looks at the spores themselves," which are often green or black, said Biango-Daniels.
"Molds need to be blurry because they need to be taken up and carried away in the breeze," she said, "like microscopic dandelions."
Which brings us to the second question: Are these fluffy filaments dangerous? No, almost never. In fact, scientists are beginning to assess the ecological significance of molds and other mushrooms such as mushrooms and yeasts.
"It was estimated that there are approximately 2.2 to 3.3 million species of fungus," said Susana Gonçalves, a fungal ecologist and conservationist at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. The public tends to associate fungi with famine (such as the potato hunger), diseases (including mushroom super bacteria that are resistant to important antimicrobial drugs), and sudden death (by eating of poisonous mushrooms However, only a few species cause problems, and that only occurs in certain contexts, she said.
For example, some molds growing on food produce toxic metabolites called mycotoxins and humans, especially those with weakened immune systems ] according to the Food and Drug Administration In addition, some molds and yeasts can cause allergic reactions or infections, as was the case with a man in Japan with an allergy to had moldy onion skins .
] Most of the problems However, according to Gonçalves, eme causing fungi occur when humans carry them outside their natural habitat, such as the spread of the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis from its homeland. The range of distribution somewhere in East Asia contributes to the global decline the biodiversity of amphibians.
In many cases, mold can actually help people, as these decomposers are ubiquitous in nature and indispensable for food preparation. Beer, wine, cheese and sourdough bread are obvious examples of foods that people make with mushrooms, but they are not the only mushroom among us. Fungi also perform important chemical transformations that convert seeds and pulp into coffee beans and cocoa beans .
But what should you do with the moldy cheddar you discovered on the back of your fridge? Can you scrape off the green and still enjoy the cheese?
"The gray may not be your biggest problem ̵
If you open the bread box or the sharper drawer and encounter mold Biango-Daniels recommends that you give your favorite snack without mushrooms: "Not because it is dangerous, but because it is not delicious . "
Originally published on Live Science .