Mold & Bacteria Consulting Laboratories received a sample of what the homeowner thought was a mold for testing. It turned out to be slime mold. The slime mold was growing on the windowsill and the homeowner initially thought it was a mushroom. When she tried to take a sample of the slime mold using clear scotch tape, the mold disintegrated into a cloud of dust. The lab identified the slime mold as Stemonitis sp. Stemonitis is a type of slime mold that usually grows outdoors in moist environments such as woods or grassy areas.
While Stemonitis is rare in buildings, it can grow on organic materials such as wood, paper or cardboard, especially when they are damp or wet. It can also grow on walls, especially in the case of water damage or leaks.
Health Effects Associated with the Slime Mold, Stemonitis
Although the slime mold, Stemonitis, is not considered a serious health problem, its growth is an indication of moisture problems and hence possible presence of other types of mold.
Mold can release spores into the air that can cause health problems such as coughing, wheezing and other respiratory problems, especially in people with a history of allergies or asthma. If you suffer from unexplained allergies, you may want to test the air quality in your home or office.
Mold could also cause skin irritation and other health effects in sensitive individuals. We therefore recommend that consulting a professional to assess the extent of mold growth and recommend appropriate level of remediation.
While slime molds are considered harmless to humans, the health effects associated with inhaling their spores is not known.
What are Slime Molds?
Slime molds are not true fungi but they often form spore-bearing structures similar to those formed by true fungi. While many species of slime mold produce fruiting bodies on wood, they do not form the mycelium (root-like structure of branching tubular filaments) on woody substrate.
Slime molds are fascinating organisms that have attracted the attention of biologists, ecologists, and even architects in recent years. They are known for their unique ability to move and grow in response to environmental stimuli. They have been observed in a variety of habitats including forests, fields, and even indoors.
One of the most intriguing aspects of slime molds is their ability to form networks that resemble the structures of cities and transportation systems. These networks have proven to be very efficient in terms of energy and resource use, with some researchers suggesting they could serve as models for sustainable infrastructure.
Slime Molds in Buildings
As mentioned before, the presence of slime mold in a built environment indicates water intrusion. In buildings, slime molds have been found to grow in damp or wet places such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. They crawl across the surface of materials, feeding on bacteria, plant and fungal spores, protozoa, and particles of dead organic matter.