Mucor is a mold found in soil, plants, manure, decaying fruits, vegetables and as a common contaminant of stored and processed foods in the kitchen. There are about 50 species described worldwide and many plague water-damaged or moist building materials and can trigger allergies on exposed people.
Mucor species that can grow at high temperatures (thermotolerant) may cause infections in man. Most Mucor species of are unable to infect humans and warm blooded animals due to their inability to grow in warm environments close to 37 degrees Celsius.
Thermotolerant species such as Mucor indicus sometimes cause opportunistic infections known as zygomycosis. Zygomycosis includes infections in mucous membranes, nasal passages and sinuses, eyes, lungs, skin, and brain, as well as renal and pulmonary infections and septic arthritis.
People suffering from diabetes, extensive burns, immunosuppression symptoms associated with AIDS and other afflictions, or those who are intravenous drug users, appear to be most susceptible to Mucor infections.
The genus Mucor contains several species. The most common ones are Mucor amphibiorum, M. circinelloides, M. hiemalis, M. indicus, M. racemosus, and M. ramosissimus.
Many Mucor species have a widespread occurrence and are of considerable economic importance. M. circinelloides is a potential source of carotenes and lipids because it accumulates high levels of these compounds in the mycelium, has a good biomass production during submerged batch cultivation in bioreactors, it is able to use a wide range of carbon sources and it has demonstrated capacity to grow in industrial stirred-tank fermenters. Nowadays, M. circinelloides lipids have gained a special attention because they can be easily converted into biodiesel, suggesting that Mucor biomass could be an alternative to plant oils as a feedstock for biodiesel production.
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M. hiemalis is a soilborne fungus. Indoors, it is found in floor, carpet and mattress dust.
Health Effects Associated With Mucor hiemalis
Little is known about the medical significance of M. hiemalis.
M. plumbeus is a soilborne fungus found worldwide. It has been isolated from HVAC filters and hospital air.
Health Effects Associated With Mucor plumbeus
Little is known about the medical significance of M. plumbeus.
M. racemosus is a soil borne fungus. It has been isolated from mattress dust.
Health Effects Associated With Mucor racemosus
Little is known about the medical significance of M. racemosus.
For further details about other mold and fungus, read our guide to common types of mold.