Scopulariopsis is a large group comprised of a number of species commonly found in soil, decaying wood, and various other plant and animal products. In indoor environments it is found on damp walls, cellulose board and wallpaper; wood; floor and mattress dust. Species of Scopulariopsis has also been isolated from carpets, hospital floors, swimming pools; wooden food packing, shoes and wood pulp. Scopulariopsisspecies are sometimes encountered growing on meat in storage.
A number of species of Scopulariopsis are of importance in the medical field, having been implicated in infection of nails. Many species of Scopulariopsis can liberate arsenic gas from substrates containing that element; this may be noticed as a garlic-like odour. In the past, there have been a few serious poisoning incidents due to the growth of Scopulariopsis brevicaulis on dyes used in wallpaper production. There were also suggestions that the infant cot death syndrome (SIDS) may in some cases be caused by Scopulariopsis but these have largely been refuted.
Of the group, Scopulariopsis brevicaulis is by far the most common species encountered in an indoor environment. It is found growing on all kinds of decomposing organic matter, and flourishes on materials containing a high level of protein, such as meat and ripening cheese. It decomposes cotton, textiles and paper products and causes deterioration of paints. It is also implicated as a human pathogen.
Other common species include: Scopulariopsis acremonium, S. halophilica, and S. fimicola. S. acremonium has been reported as causing the spoilage of free fatty acids in stored barley. S. halophilica is particularly resistant to high concentrations of salt, and causes spoilage of salt fish in various Asian countries. Scopulariopsis fimicola causes the “white plaster mould” of commercial mushroom growing.