Black mold or Black mould may refer to any of the many types of molds that appear black or greyish black. These molds include Stachybotrys chartarum (common in buildings); Aspergillus niger (the most common of the Aspergillus genus); Cladosporium and Ulocladium among others.
Stachybotrys chartarum is one of the most infamous and toxigenic molds that can be found in homes. It produces toxic compounds known as mycotoxins. The color of Stachybotrys ranges from darkish green to black and hence the name black mold. Stachybotrys chartarum can grow on material with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content, such as fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. It requires constant excessive moisture for growth such as moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding.
Black Mold Symptoms
There are no symptoms that are specific to black molds or white molds. Indoor mold symptoms are in most cases allergic reactions when spores are inhaled. These symptoms may include sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion or itchy nose, mouth and lips. While there are hundreds of types of molds in both outdoor and indoor environments, not all of them are known to cause allergy symptoms. The most common allergy-causing indoor molds include some species of Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Penicillium.
How to Identify Black Mold
The term black mold is erroneously used by the general public to refer to Stachybotrys. As mentioned earlier there are other types of molds that are appear black. The only way to identify black mold is to examine the mold under a microscope. The identification is performed by a trained microbiologist.
What Causes Black Mold?
The growth of all types of molds regardless of their color is caused by moisture. However some types of molds require more moisture than others. Based on moisture requirements molds can be categorized into primary, secondary and tertiary colonizers. Apart from moisture, mold growth also requires organic material to use as food. For the common indoor molds optimal growth occurs at around 25 oC.