Scopulariopsis

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Scopulariopsis species

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.

Scopulariopsis as seen under a microscope

Scopulariopsis as seen under a microscope

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.

You can learn more about mold classification by reading our guide to common household molds.

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Jackson Kung'u
Dr. Jackson Kung’u is a Microbiologist who has specialized in the field of mycology (the study of moulds and yeasts). He is a member of the Mycological Society of America. He graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, with a Masters degree in Fungal Technology and a PhD in Microbiology. He has published several research papers in international scientific journals. Jackson has analyzed thousands of mould samples from across Canada. He also regularly teaches a course on how to recognize mould, perform effective sampling and interpret laboratory results. Jackson provides how-to advice on mould and bacteria issues. Get more information about indoor mould and bacteria at http://www.drjacksonkungu.com.

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