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Q: definition of mold organisms ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: definition of mold organisms
Category: Science > Biology
Asked by: kcurry-ga
List Price: $40.00
Posted: 09 Mar 2006 18:15 PST
Expires: 08 Apr 2006 19:15 PDT
Question ID: 705582
Is the following  true: Mold is often used interchangeably with the
word mildew. They are the generic terms that describe a variety of
microorganisms, including fungi, algae, rusts, yeasts, and bacteria,
that are agents of deterioration.
Subject: Re: definition of mold organisms
Answered By: sublime1-ga on 09 Mar 2006 20:23 PST

The statement is true up to the following point:

"Mold is often used interchangeably with the word mildew.
 They are the generic terms that describe..[some]..fungi."

Using Google's 'define' function, we can pull up a whole
page of resulting definitions from the web:



Here's some of what we find...

Mold is:

"a common name for fungi that grow in a filamentous fashion
 and reproduce by means of spores; all molds are fungi, but
 not all fungi are considered 'molds'"

"a fungus; molds are plants that make spores instead of seeds
 which float in the air like pollen. They are a common trigger
 for allergies. Molds are found in damp areas, such as the
 basement or bathroom, as well as in the outdoor environment
 in grass, leaf piles, hay, and mulch."

"A fungus-type microorganism whose growth on food is usually
 visible and colorful. Molds may grow on many foods, including
 acid foods like jams and jellies and canned fruits."

"is a superficial, often wooly substance that grows on damp or
 decaying organic matter or on living organisms. Molds produce
 tiny spores to reproduce. These mold spores waft through the
 indoor and outdoor air continually."

Mildew is:

"a common name for mold or fungi; often used in reference to
 fungal growth on bathroom tiles and fixtures"

"A common name for dark coloured molds which cause disfiguration
 and degradation. They can be found in interior (ie bathrooms)
 and exterior environments (ie tenting, awnings, painted siding)."

"Mildew is another name for common household black mold."

"A fungus that grows in dark, moist enviroments. It appears in
 different colors such as black, gray, yellow, green, or purple."

"Mildew is a grey, mold-like growth, caused by one of two types
 of microorganism. These do not belong to the same biological

This last entry, from Wikipedia, bears a closer look. It specifies:

"Mildew is a grey, mold-like growth caused by one of two
 different types of micro-organisms.

 What most horticulturalists and gardeners call mildew is
 actually powdery mildew, caused by various Ascomycota fungi.
 There are several species, all pests of flowering plants,
 called obligate parasites. The species that affects roses
 is Sphaerotheca pannosa var. rosa.

 The other main form of mildew is downy mildew, which is a
 member of the Oomycota phylum in the Protista kingdom. In
 commercial agriculture, downy mildew is a particular problem
 for growers of potatoes, grapes and vine-type vegetables.

 Mildew can thrive on any organic matter, not just living
 tissue, and can appear on clothing, leather, paper, and
 the ceilings, walls and floors of many homes. It often
 lives on shower walls."

This more precise, scientific definition does not reflect
common usage.



Reading through this, we can see that algae are single or
multi-celled plants which are not, however, fungi. They
grow near or *in* water, as seen on the sides of a swimming
pool, while mold grows in a damp environment, but not underwater.
It may be mistakenly called mold, as when it is found on a



Rust is both a specific fungus which feeds on iron, and a group
of fungi which cause disease in plants.



One-celled fungi that feed on sugar. This says it all:

"common name for an artificial assemblage of higher fungi
 which have temporarily or permanently abandoned the use
 of hyphal thalli; they are unicellular, and vegetative
 reproduction is generally by budding or fission."



"Bacteria (singular, bacterium) are a major group of living
 organisms. They are microscopic and mostly unicellular, with
 a relatively simple cell structure lacking a cell nucleus,
 cytoskeleton, and organelles such as mitochondria and

They both nuclei and chlorophyll and were considered not to
be plants, at first. Classification is still difficult, but
some consider them to be very primitive forms of plant life.

For the most part, even large colonies are pretty much invisible
in the world around us.

So, in summary, all molds are fungi, but not all fungi are molds.
Rusts are fungi which are not molds. Algae are plants; yeasts are
a specialized single-celled higher form of fungi. and bacteria
are very primitive microscopic single-celled organism sometimes
classified as plants.

Fungi, while once classified as plants, have come to have their
own classification, since they don't make their own food, as 
plants do, but absorb it from what they consume from other living
or once-living things. In that sense they are closer to animals
than plants, but since they lack stomachs, they are unique. See:

Please do not rate this answer until you are satisfied that  
the answer cannot be improved upon by way of a dialog  
established through the "Request for Clarification" process. 
A user's guide on this topic is on skermit-ga's site, here: 

Additional information may be found from an exploration of
the links resulting from the Google searches outlined below
(in addition to the ones already provided):

Searches done, via Google:

fungi plant

mold phylum OR genus OR species
Subject: Re: definition of mold organisms
From: brix24-ga on 10 Mar 2006 20:34 PST

Re: "Rust is both a specific fungus which feeds on iron, and a group
of fungi which cause disease in plants."

I seem to have missed the "fungus which feeds on iron" part in the web
site you listed. Can you tell where specifically you saw this

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