The word “mold” has two meanings: On the one hand, it means a fungus that we mainly know from spoiled food. But it can also be welcome, for example as the outer layer of soft cheese.
On the other hand, the word “dawn” also means a white or almost white horse. The name probably comes from the fact that moldy bread initially appears white or at least light grey. In order to create clarity, one often speaks of the horse as a gray horse and means the white mold with the other.
Mold is spread through airborne spores. The fungal spores roughly correspond to the seeds on flowers and fruits. Fungal spores can get onto food before we buy it. If the air then has the appropriate temperature and humidity, the fungal spores develop into whitish mycelium over time.
Which molds do people find harmful?
We know mold on foods that are older. Bread, fruit, and vegetables such as carrots, but also hard cheese are particularly susceptible. Many schoolchildren have found a moldy sandwich in their satchel after the holidays. Moldy food can be toxic to humans.
Mold fungi also spread in agriculture. Strawberries, for example, are very vulnerable if it rains for a long time. Then the leaves and fruits are covered with a whitish layer. The farmer can combat this with sprays, but these are often poisonous themselves. Greenhouses provide the best protection because you can better regulate how humid it should be.
Mold can also appear on the walls of living spaces. It mainly occurs in isolated houses that are poorly ventilated. In this case, a specialist has to get to work, because living in moldy rooms is very unhealthy.
In nature, however, it makes sense that mold would break down food or wood. This contributes to the fact that all plants become fresh soil again at the end. So it makes a big difference whether the infested wood is on the forest floor or whether it is a ceiling.
Which molds do people consider useful?
Around 1900, Scotsman Alexander Fleming discovered that the antibiotic called penicillin could be obtained from a mold. You can use it to fight pneumonia or the plague, for example. Before that, millions of people died.
Certain molds are popular in making cheese. On the one hand, there is white mold cheese. It is soft on the inside and has a white layer on the outside caused by mold. Well-known varieties are Camembert and Brie from France. On the other hand, there is the blue mold cheese. It is best known as Gorgonzola from Italy.
Today we know of special molds that can be eaten as such. Today they are bred industrially. This requires a nutrient solution with sugar. The mushroom is then sold mixed with vitamins, minerals, and egg as a substitute for meat.