Like most hazardous materials, mold is an unwelcome and harmful substance, but what separates this material from others in the group is that it’s a living organism capable of reproduction. When you see that unsightly stain on your walls, floors, and ceiling, it’s a living colony feeding off the dead organic substances within and on the surface of the building materials. Understanding the life cycle of mold and learning how it grows will help you realize how quickly it can spread and what it takes to eliminate it.
The Four Stages of the Life Cycle of Mold
The life cycle of mold comes in four stages: hyphae growth, spore formation, spore dispersal, and spore germination. With the right conditions, mold can transition through these stages at an alarming rate.
The first stage begins with cells called hyphae. With suitable conditions – such as a warm, moist environment – these thread-like cells can feed on and absorb the nutrients of organic matter. Once it takes in enough food, hyphae will grow into mycelium – the visible part of mold.
Spores will begin to grow on the ends of the hyphae cells. Environmental factors – such as oxygen level, nutrient accessibility, extent of water damage, and temperature – will affect the number of spores the hyphae prepare for dispersal.
Once the spores are fully developed, they’re released into the air to spread and restart the life cycle elsewhere in the building. This stage of mold growth has the biggest impact on your health, as the spores – or bioaerosols – can be inhaled.
Once the spores touch down on a new location, they will lie in wait until the conditions become appropriate enough for them to germinate into the hyphae stage, thus reigniting the mold problem.
How Does the Life Cycle Affect Its Treatment?
Mold spores can remain dormant for years and are very resilient, even in dry environments. The hyphae cells act as roots, so even though wiping a surface down with bleach will remove the exposed layer of mold, it does nothing to destroy the hyphae. However, while there is no way of getting rid of mold without removing the materials it’s embedded in, by making the environment inhospitable – such as eliminating excess humidity and moisture – it won’t grow to harmful levels.
Considering the rapid life cycle of mold and its rate of spread, removing it can be costly if ignored. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to halt its life cycle. At Fiber Control, Inc., we can help with any seemingly unstoppable mold issues. Contact us today inquire about mold removal or to learn about our other hazardous material services, such as asbestos abatement and lead RPP.