Mold is a common and necessary part of our world. This type of fungus is useful in decomposing organic material, and is part of nature’s garbage disposal system. It is when mold begins growing in places we do not want it (such as in our homes) that it becomes a serious issue that can negatively impact our health and the longevity and safety of our house.
What Is Mold?
A mold or fungus is an organism that survives on almost any material; it digests its food externally and absorbs the nutrient molecules into its cells. With the onslaught of publicity about molds that threaten human health, we now fear molds and destroy them on sight, which is very understandable since it’s our general well-being that is being looked out for, but what is being forgotten is that molds have good uses too.
The first and most important role of fungi is that without it, there would be piles of trash everywhere. Don’t forget fungi get food from our weekly rubbish. They eat the waste and transform it into soil. They are the first, natural garbage dispensers.
Uses of Fungi
Fungi are very important and have a variety of important uses. Yeasts, for one, are responsible for fermentation. Fermentation is the process used in making beer and different wines. The same fungus is used in most of the bread that is eaten, and without it, bread would be flat.
Mushrooms are a form of fungus. In many countries, mushroom farming is a very big industry. The biggest role of Fungi is probably acting as the primary decomposer of dead plant and animal matter in almost all ecosystems. That’s why we commonly see molds on old bread.
Mycoremediation is a process by which mushrooms are used to break down and decontaminate toxic waste in the environment. This process is safer than other methods of decontamination which often involve scraping and burning contaminated soil… which can remove the important top soil. In contrast, mycoremediation can actually improve the soil! The drawback is that it takes much longer to achieve the breakdown.
Remember – Mold can be put to good use too!