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Mold Glossary

Learn about mold through our exclusive online mold dictionary. To get rid of mold, dial (408) 351-3963 today!

911 Mold San Jose Mold Removal has compiled a mold dictionary for you to learn more about mold and understand the serious and harmful effects of it. If you suspect the presence of mold in your residence, it is highly recommended to take the necessary steps to get rid of mold and get yourself and family members medically evaluated.

There are three types of molds: Allergenic molds, pathogenic molds and toxigenic molds.

Allergenic Molds: do not normally cause life-threatening health effects and tend to affect individuals who are already allergic, asthmatic and have a weak immune system. Responses to this type of mold are usually mild, typically causing scratchy throats, eye and nose irritations and rashes.

Pathogenic Molds: Tend to cause infections and quite harmful to individuals with low functioning immune system. Most healthy people are able to resist infection by these organisms regardless of dose. In some cases, high exposure could lead to hypersensitivity pneumonitis (an acute response to exposure to an organism).

Toxigenic Molds/Mycotoxins: Can produce serious health effects in most people. Their toxicity can range from short-term irritation to immunosuppression, cancer and even death if not treated. When toxigenic molds are found further evaluation is recommended.

Mold dictionary in alphabetic order


A genust hat contains zygomycete fungus. Can be allergenic could cause mucorosis in individuals with low immunity. Usually infects the lungs, nose, brain, eyesight and skin.

Acremonium (Cephalosporium)

May produce trichothecene toxins that are harmful if ingested. These primary types of fungus have been identified in at least two houses whose owners complained of vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. The asexual form of Emericellopsis sp., Chaetomium sp., and Nectripsis sp. is capable of producing mycetomas infection of the nails and cornea.


This common type of mold is one of the primary causes of allergy, (ex.: hay fever, asthma) and type III allergen (ex.: hypersensitivity pneumonitis). Its large spores show that the fungus grows inside the mouth, nose and upper respiratory tract, causing infections such as nasal septum. Alternaria is the usual cause for extrinsic asthma, showing serious symptoms like edema and bronchiospasms. Severe cases may metamorphose into pulmonary emphysema, baker’s asthma, farmer's and woodworker's lung, fungal infection of the cornea or (mycotic keratitis), hypersensitivity, nasal and subcutaneous lesions, skin and nail infections, and inflammation of the bone (osteomyelitis). Toxic disease causing metabolites in humans produced by the microbes are tenuazonic acid, alternariol monomethylether or AME, and altertoxins (mutagenic). Many species are pathogens to plants, while some are prepared to biocontrol weeds and unwanted plants. Alternaria produces an antifungal metabolite known as alternariol, mostly found indoor in dust, rugs, clothing materials, foodstuffs and on flat surfaces such as window sills. It is usually isolated away from substrates like sewage, monuments, leather, computer disks, optical instruments, cosmetics and even jet fuel. Outside, it could be found on dead matter or debris, and may aid the rotting of agricultural products in the soil or air. Alternaria conidium is carried by wind easily, and its colonies grow quickly, have a suede-like texture, while some are black or gray colored.


A fungal spore which is difficult to identify, includes Penicillium, Aspergillus, Trichoderma and others. Penicillium can easily be identified during sampling by using culturing methods.


Common saprophyte, usually found in decomposed plant matter as a fuzzy, white mold, especially on grasses and soil. It is a type of allergen mostly documented in different subcutaneous infections and has not been associated with any disease with toxic effects as of yet.


This is a special allergen spore cell called an ascus. All ascomycetes are members of a fungi group known as Ascomycotina, and can be easily spotted. They appear as tiny black dots seen on decaying wood matter and leaf surfaces and the little lichen cups are said to be ascomycetes; so also is the mushroom called "truffle."

Aspergillus candidus

Usually grows in grains, warm soils and in areas where there is vegetation decay. Recently has been linked to respiratory problems in humans during a house test. It could produce the toxin petulin which causes diseases in humans and animals.

Aspergillus clavatus

Usually found in animal manure or plain soil. It is sometimes pathogenic and could produce the toxin petulin which may be a cause of diseases in humans or animals.

Aspergillus flavus

Grows where peanuts and moldy corn thrives. Generally found in foods, warm soil and dairy products. Some of its strains are able to produce a group of mycotoxins of the aflatoxin category. Aflatoxins are classified as animal carcinogens and are poisons to humans if ingested. If inhaled, it could also result in occupational disease. Experiments show that it is mutagenic, teratogenic, allergenic and toxic to the liver. Its presence has to do with asthma and may be lodged in water-damaged rugs. Fungal toxin production depends on the growth conditions and on the food source substrate. This type of fungus is linked with lung aspergillosis and/or disseminated aspergillosis. It is sometimes identified as the cause of infections like corneal, otomycotic and nasoorbital.

Aspergillus fumigatus

Classified as a human pathogen, and cause both allergic and invasive aspergillosis (the invasive type usually affects people with low immunity). It usually thrives in outdoor areas or in cereal grains, warm or cool soils, and in compost material.

Aspergillus glaucus

An outdoor fungus that usually appears in the winter could grow on leather and said to be allergenic and sometimes pathogenic. This type of fungus grows in low moisture levels e.g. grains, wool, sugary products and meat.

Aspergillus nidulans

Found in light to warm soils and on rotting plants. Could produce mycotoxin sterigmatocystin. This toxin type causes damage to liver and kidney in laboratory animals. The specie is sometimes pathogenic and is often linked to lung aspergillosis and/or disseminated aspergillosis.

Aspergillus niger

A less common causative agent of aspergillosis with a musty odor. Mostly found outdoors especially in media like soils, textiles, grains, vegetables and fruits. Can cause pulmonary and skin infections and a usual cause of fungal induced ear infections like otomycosis.

Aspergillus ochraceus

Commonly found inside the soil, grains and salted food content and could lead to kidney problems. This toxin is manufactured at optimum growth conditions of around 25 deg. Celsius and high atmospheric moisture. The ochratoxin could also be a product of Aspergillus sp. and Penicillium sp. Other types of toxins that are products of this fungus are penicillic acid, viomellein and xanthomegnin. These are all toxins related to the kidney and liver.

Aspergillus parasiticus

Its strains are able to produce groups of mycotoxins within the larger aflatoxin group. If ingested, the toxin is poisonous to the human liver and experiments show that it is both mutagenic and teratogenic. The fungal toxin produced largely depends on the conditions of growth and on the substrate as well.

Aspergillus penicilloides

Grows in low water activity conditions and is generally found in dusty areas and food materials.

Aspergillus terreus

Grows in warm soil, straw, grains, cotton and decaying vegetation. It produces the toxin citrinin and patulin usually associated with human diseases and animals. This fungus has to do with lung aspergillosis and/or disseminated aspergillosis. Can cause ear infection, finger or toe nails infection.

Aspergillus versicolor

Found mostly in cool climates, usually found in the air, soil, hay, dusty areas, foods such as dairy products and cotton. May produce the mycotoxin which causes diarrhea, upset stomach and possible carcinogen which in turn affects the kidney and liver. It is an irritant to human and animal’s mucus membranes. Usually has a musty smell.


An allergenic that causes ear infections. A lot of its species reproduce mycotoxins that could be linked to humans and animal diseases. Some toxins have been discovered as carcinogenic in species of animals while many toxins are seen as potential human carcinogens. A widespread cause of extrinsic asthma is the type I. Acute symptoms could be bronchiospasms and edema while some chronic cases could cause pulmonary emphysema. They may cause allergic symptoms like sinusitis.


The fungi subdivision "Basidiomycotina" is the taxonomic designation which has puffballs and mushrooms. They yield spores which form outside the "basidium," a special cell.


A type of fungus with big spores that may be deposited inside the upper respiratory tract of humans. This type of fungus is capable of producing mycotoxin, discovered to produce kidney and liver damage in lab animals.


A human pathogen mostly found inside soil samples.


A common allergenic, which forms a part of the mouth flora and membrane mucous found within the body system. Diseases of its type are products of Candida albicans that normally occur after long treatment done with steroids or antibiotics. One of the unlikely sources of exposure for this type of fungus is the environment. Cells of this organism are not always airborne.


A form of a large ascomycetous fungus which causes perithecia and is often found on different forms of substrates with cellulose. This includes plant compost and paper. It usually produces Acremonium-like material on fungal matter. Its types are seen as allergenic, normally linked with cutaneous lesions, peritonitis and system mycosis.

Cladosporium (Hormodendrum)

Outdoor type of fungus, reduced during winter but high during summer. Species identified outdoors are different from the indoor Cladosporium sp type. It is mostly found atop fibreglass surfaces and inside duct liners. Food sources for this type of fungus include a wide variety of plants. It grows on dead or woody plants, paint, straw, food, soil and textiles and yields more than 10 antigens. These antigens can be found in commercial extracts; vary in quality and could deteriorate shortly after preparation. It is linked to extrinsic asthma. Severe symptoms could be eye ulceration, skin lesions, onychomycosis or mycosis, finger & toenail infection, bronchiospasms. Chronic cases may cause pulmonary emphysema.

Cladosporium fulvum (Fulvia fulva)

Usually found on the surfaces of tomato leaves.

Cladosporium herbarum

Mostly found on straw, soil, woody or dead plants, food, textiles and paint.

Cladosporium macrocarpum

Common among straw, soil, woody or dead plants, food, textiles and paint.

Cladosporium sphaerospermum

Destroyer of straw, soil, plants, food and paint.

Conidia, unidentified

Spores of mold that do not show morphological features or allow easy identification. Due to the several thousands of fungi types, many of them fall under ""unknown" or other" categories. If they exist in large amounts, more measures could be used to identify the fungus. Normal amounts of spore counts are classified as "Unidentified Conidia."


Written in plural form as conidia, it is an asexual spore, thin-walled and carries on specialized hypha (conidiophore). It matures to become deciduous.


This fungus causes severe inflammatory diseases called entomophthoromycosis or nasal mucosa.

Cryptococcus neoformans
Fungus that grows worldwide but mostly where pigeons roost, contaminated soil harbouring decayed droppings of pigeons or chickens. Tends to enter the body system through the respiratory ducts in form of basidiospores or dehydrated haploid yeast. It then spreads hematogenously to extrapulmonary tissues. Its fatality can be seen in the fungal predilection of the brain suggesting infected persons could contract meningoencephalitis.

Cryptostroma corticale

Grows on the bark of sycamore and maple trees and often on the surfaces of stored logs.


Could cause pulmonary and disseminated infections in lightly immune hosts like humans.


An allergenic linked to allergic fungal sinusitis and could cause mycetoma, corneal infections and severe illness in hosts with compromised immunity.


A fungus classified under the group "Hyphomycetes" although there isn’t much information on its toxicity or Dictyosporium allergenicity. Being a member of the "Dematiaceous Hyphomycetes" category, it has the potential to cause phaeohyphomycosis. It thrives in freshwater and terrestrial habitats, as a common saprobe of substances of submerged lignocellulose. Microscopic views indicate that its spores are tongue-shaped and multi-cellular with sub-concentric cells. Colors of its colonies are sometimes black, dark brown or greenish black.


Tends to grow mostly on grass surfaces and decayed matter such as food and grains. It sometimes causes eye infections in the cornea.


A common allergen lodged in soil, grains, plants, textiles, wood and paper materials.


Could lead to nail or skin infections e.g. ringworm.


Fungus is neither a plant nor an animal, but is considered a parasitic and saprophytic spores which produce organisms under their own taxonomic category. Fungi may be mildew, molds, mildews, rusts, smuts, puffballs, mushrooms and yeasts. There are over 1.5 million species of fungi.

Fusarium solani

Tends to grow in soils and plants and has trichothecene toxins linked to diseases in humans and animals.


A common fungus and allergenic often found in the soil, and grows on a wide variety of plants and humidifiers. Many species in this genus are able to yield toxins like potent trichothecene.
This toxin type (scirpene) attacks the alimentary, skin, circulatory and nervous systems of the body. It could produce vomitoxin in grain materials in times of abnormally damp conditions of growth. Signs may show either by ingesting contaminated grains or through inhaling the spores. The genus could characterize the alimentary toxic aleukia or human hemorrhagic syndrome. This is indicated by diarrhea, dermatitis, nausea, vomiting and prolonged internal bleeding. Mostly reflected in skin, eye and nail infections.


Usually found in dairy products, grains, fruits, paper, water, textiles and soil. It is a part of the human flora and the Geotrichum candidum species could cause geotrichosis which is a secondary infection linked to tuberculosis. Although a rare disease, it may cause skin, mouth, lung, bronchi and intestine lesions.


A mitosporic mold harbored on decayed plant materials. No known reports on its effects on human health for types growing within indoor areas. However, there seems to be a link between nitrogen-fixing bacteria and Helicomyces roseus as an essential content of a highly effective system of soil enrichment. Helicomyces lilliputeus is a systems decomposer for sewage treatment, while others of similar genus grow on submerged wood.


Grows in 25 deg. Celsius while yeast grows at around 37 deg. Celsius. It is said to be linked to birds and is known as a human pathogen.


Grows on materials with high cellulose content and often thrives in soil or plant debris.

Hyaline mycelia

Usually colorless, transparent or translucent and is hard to identify without reproductive content present. It is usually linked to allergic symptoms.


Associated with Stachybotrys sp. And can be found worldwide mostly in soil samples. Mycotoxins experiments show that Memnoniella echinata may possess similar toxicity to some Stachybotrys chartarum isolates. Both types may produce different simple trichothecenes amounts. Therefore, it is advisable for Memnoniella sp. to be seen as potentially dangerous air for indoor areas. The main difference between the two fungi types is the conidia of Memnoniella sp. which is in endless chains but combined slimy heads are represented for the Stachybotrys type. Furthermore, Memnoniella sp. conidia have a lesser aerodynamic diameter than the other with a greater ability to run deep inside the lungs.


This mainly produces ringworm in humans.


Molds are classified as organisms with over 20,000 species. Molds are produced through spores which continually float in the air. Once the spores of mold land indoors and find any damp area, they could start springing up; digesting all they grow on. Molds strives on almost all organic substances, provided there is oxygen and moisture.


Allergenic and is produced on the soft decay of fruit trees. The rest of its members yield a red mold of bread mold and is known to cause infections relating to corneal eye.


Mucor mostly grows compost matter like in dead plants, soil, animal dung, fruits and decayed wood. It also thrives in meat, leather, animal fur, dairy products and human hair. This organism and similar types often grow quickly on many fungal environments. It could cause mucorosis in lightly immune persons as it usually infects multiple sites such as the brain, eye, lung, nose and skin.


Classified under the "slime molds" category and could be found in indoor areas, but they commonly grow in forest zones on the surfaces of stumps, decaying logs and dead leaves. Myxomycetes exhibits features of protozoans and fungi. They largely vary in size and pattern and when dry, forms a sclerotium or resting body with the airborne but dry spores. This type does not yield toxins, except asthma and hay fever.


Grows in warm regions, and could be the cause of allergic reactions like asthma and hay fever. Usually thrives on soil or decaying plant matter but never found indoors.


This type is referred to as the asexual phase of Erysiphe sp. The fungus is a plant pathogen which causes mildew in powdery form. It grows on the stems of leaves and plant flowers. Its allergenic and health effects are yet to be studied and have not been found on non-living surfaces e.g. drywall or wood.


An allergenic that is mostly found in air and could be a cause of paecilomycosis usually associated with humidifier related and wood-trimmer's diseases or illnesses. Species of this genus are harbingers of pneumonia and may yield arsine gas if they enjoy the arsenic substrate. Friendly surfaces could be wallpapers overgrown with green color.


Grows in soil, textiles, decaying plants, manure, and paper.


Many organisms are placed under this genus although its specie is difficult to identify. It can be found in samples of aerosol and soil, cellulose, food matter and grains, compost piles and paint. It can easily cause damage in individuals with weak immunity with illnesses such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis or allergic alveolitis. It is naturally allergenic and is commonplace on surfaces like wallpaper, fiberglass, carpet and duct insulators. Mycotoxins are products of certain species. The immediate-type hypersensitivity: type I is the main cause of extrinsic asthma. Severe symptoms are bronchiospasms and edema; while serious cases may bring pulmonary emphysema, diarrhea, headaches and vomiting.


Grows in blackened soil, leaf spots, rushes, dead stems, grasses and sedges; it is always related to other types of fungi and hardly grows indoors. It sometimes causes mycotic keratitis.


This is plant pathogen whose genus is the cause of downy mildews. Peronospora is commonplace and is known as an obligate parasite i.e. they can only grow on life-giving surfaces of the environment. They are often found on stems, leaves, flowers, veggies and fruits of higher living plants. Spore trap samples could be used to identify Peronospora sp. in the air due to the reason that spores have a unique morphology. Its allergenic properties, health effects and toxicity are all yet to be studied


A mold induced infection under the taxonomic heading "Hyphomycetes" is known as hyphomycosis. Its invading microbes belong to the fungus family "Dematiaceae;" recognized through the color of their mycelium – "dusky-brown". Different types of its disease affect various parts of the human body e.g. the respiratory tract and skin. Invasion of this mold into the brain, eye, bone or subcutaneous tissue and this usually happens due to the trauma of the affected area.


It is an air allergen that is common in indoor areas and causes asthma, hay fever and produces the commonly called "shower curtain disease" called hypersensitivity pneumonitis. These shower surfaces are somehow integrated with the fungal organism. Human phoma infection usually affects people with low immunity. They are fungal infection of the cornea or mycotic keratitis, phaeohyphomycosis, etc.


Is mostly found in tropical regions, where it easily grows on soil, wood, dead plants and leaves, grasses, straw and livestock fodder. It can cause liver damage in animals and facial eczema in domestic animals. As for human beings, it is classified as an allergen, with an infectious agent that compromises low immunity patients. With poor migration indoors, this type of mold may grow on paper as it shows distinctive, brown, multi-celled conidia.


Could cause mucorosis in poorly immuned persons. It covers an entire biological niche to Mucor sp. and could cause mucorosis, as well as brain, eye, Infection.


A reddish type of yeast that grows in moist places like carpets, drain pans and cooling coils. More common in certain countries and can be found in indoor areas. It is an allergenic based on reports from positive skin tests.

Rusts (and smuts)

Plant diseases tend to be associated with this type of fungus. The two groups (smuts and rusts) produce wind-carrying, resistant teliospores which is the basis for how they are classified. Rusts are known to attack the vegetative part of plants e.g. leaves and stems while smuts are mostly related to plants’ reproductive parts such as seeds. They are also causes of asthma and hay fever in humans.


This type of mitosporic fungus is part of the "Hyphomycetes" or spores formed through asexual cell division. There is not much information regarding Spegazzinia toxicity or its allergenic property. Spegazzinia spores may be seen in samples of air through their unique structure, and are capable of building a colony in 7 to 10 days. These colonies are comparably slow in growth, and are black and brownish black colored. This saprobe gets nourished from non-living or rotting organic materials and grows in slightly warm to tropical places of soil samples, dead leaves, stems, trees, and other types of plant waste.


Spore is identified as the mode of mold reproduction. Spores are 2 to 100 micrometers in microscopic size and come in different shapes. Spores could be distributed through water droplets, wind, humans or animals moving around.


This type of mitosporic fungus is part of the "Hyphomycetes". Very little is currently known about its toxicity or its allergenic property. It tends to thrive on tree barks, wood or stems, and could survive in fresh water.


The Sporothrix schenckii species of this fungus could cause sporotrichosis, usually in people with low immunity. Sporotrichosis is a severe fungal infection that leads to internal lung damage and could spread through the bloodstream once the mold gains entry into the body system through the skin.


Many of this mold’s strains could yield macrocyclic trichothecenes which is poisonous when in inhaled.

Persons who have severe risks to Stachybotrys's toxins complained of flu or cold symptoms, diarrhea, headaches, sore throats, fatigue, hair loss, dermatitis, general weakness and psychological depression among other signs. In infants, these toxins pose a high risk to a chronic condition of bleeding in the lungs also known as pulmonary hemosiderosis. Serious hemorrhage may lead to blood coughs or nose bleeds.

For anemic patients, low quality bleeding may result in congestion and chronic coughs. Humans who unwittingly contact mold contaminated material showed symptoms of mouth and nasal burns, cough, rhinitis and cutaneous irritation during the contact periods, especially where there was plenty of perspiration. Toxins formed by this type of mold can emasculate the immune system, thereby affecting the bone marrow and lymphoid tissue. Animals that had macrocyclic trichothecenes injected into their systems showed symptoms such as brain, heart, lymph nodes, intestines, lung, thymus, spleen, liver and kidney hemorrhage and sometimes necrosis. This fungus is black in color, grows in areas with building materials; low nitrogen content and high cellulose content. When compared to similar mold types, it has slow growth rate. When the level of moisture is high for extented periods, Stachybotrys can slowly turn into a dominant genus (probably due to its mycotoxins production, which seems to be done against other types of bacteria and mold). This genus is hard to locate in indoor samples of air until it is tested physically.


In taxonomy, this genus is an allergen designated under "Hyphomycetes;" causes Type I allergies like asthma and hay fever. Phaeohyphomycotic sinusitis is related to this mold. it mainly exists in the cool northern hemisphere, grows in moist wood, soil, cellulose materials, rotting plants, and on living plants as pathogens. Colonies have rapid growth; and possess a cotton-like and velvety texture. It has a black, light brown and olive green color variety; has scarce indoor colonies, but does well in dust especially from outdoors to indoors through air filters.


Causes respiratory infection with the feature of a hard, intracaitary ball of fungus.


Found outdoors in air, soil, on dead vegetation, wood, and grasses. Also found indoors on cellulosic materials. Reported to be allergenic and may cause hay fever and asthma.

This mold type asexual and belongs to the "Hyphomycetes" group. It has little reference to its allergenic property or toxicity, but known to be a light cause for cornea infection (human keratitis). The genus has different species which could be seen through indoor sampling. Trichocladium uniseptatum is one of the species regularly found on indoor wood surfaces which microbe has been linked to rot in black root and as a very active plant pathogen.


An allergen that grows on paper, soil, pine needles, dead trees and crude ceramics but also lives on similar fungi type. It forms toxic antibiotics harmful to humans and easily degrades cellulose.


This is another allergen that causes athlete's foot, ringworm, jock itch, and similar infections of the nail, beard, skin and scalp. It grows on the skin and in soil.


Trichothecium roseum species are able to produce trichothecene toxins related to diseases in animals or humans. It is an allergenic and thrives well in decaying soil, vegetation, flour and corn seeds.


A well known allergen, which causes asthma, hay fever and subcutaneous infections. grows well on grasses, soil, decomposing vegetation, manure and general compost materials. Indoors, this genus enjoys painted surfaces, building & straw materials, paper, wood, dust, textiles and samples of air. Its colonies do not grow that fast and has color shades of black and gray, rusty-olive brown with velvety texture.


Grows fast in rotting habitat, soil, straw and various arthropods and is also an occasional cause of infection found on human cornea.


Found in foods with sugar content, textiles, soil, salted meats, dairy products, hay or straw and fruits.


There are different types of yeasts that are usually found in samples of air and some can be identified as allergenic. Yeast could pose a problem for someone with a history of mold exposure and hypersensitivity. Yeast could also act as an allergen to those sensitive to it especially if it is present in large amounts.

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