The Indoor Fungus Glossary

Have you ever been surprised at the presence of plants that have no leaves, no flowers and no chlorophyll on spoilt and decaying substances such as bread? Most times, these living things are called fungi. Some airborne fungi in the home can cause respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and even chronic illnesses.

Absidia sp - a zygomycetes. It affects the immune system of human beings especially in the lungs, nasal sinus, the brain, the eye and the skin.

Acremonium sp - causes allergy. It can also cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Its infections are also commonly seen on the eye and the nails.

Alternaria sp - Found on horizontal surfaces on buildings for example, under the carpets, and on the windows.

Aspergillus candidus - causes respiratory difficulties in humans. Often located in soils, grains and decaying vegetation.

Aspergillus clavatus - found in soils and animal manure. Its substance, toxin petulin, causes diseases in humans.

Aspergillus flavus - this fungus is both teratogenic and mutagenic. It is toxic to the liver and the lungs. It can grow on corn and peanuts.

Aspergillus fumigatus - a fungus that can cause aspergillosis. It deteriorates the immune system. It can be found on warm soils, cereals and in compost piles.

Aspergillus glaucus - this fungus occurs mostly in the winter. It can be fund on grains, sugary foods, meat and fish. It exists as Eurotium sp in its ascomycetous state.

Aspergillus nidulans - a fungus that provides mycotoxin sterigmatocystin, which affects the liver, the lungs and the kidney of animals. Can be found on decaying organic matter and warm soils.

Aspergillus niger - smells like must and causes ear infections, skin problems and pulmonary diseases. It can be located on fruits, soils, textiles and vegetables.

Aspergillus parasiticus - can cause cancer in animals. Its ingestion can be very poisonous to the liver. It is both teratogenic and mutagenic.

Aspergillus penicilloides - grows on surfaces with even low moisture content such as house dust and food.

Aspergillus sp - causes ear infections and diseases of the respiratory system in humans and other animals.

Aspergillus terreus - grows on warm soils, corn, cotton, straw and composts. Composts produced by this group are patulin and citrinin and they affect humans and other animals. The target organs in humans are the ear, the lungs and the nails.

Aspergillus versicolor - fond of dairy products. Their mycotoxins: sterigmatocystin and cyclopiaxonic acid, cause diarrhea and stomach upset in humans.

Bipolaris sp - infects the respiratory system. Their mycotoxins called sterigmatocystin can cause kidney and liver failure.

Blastomyces sp - infectious to human beings. Exists as filaments (at 25°C/77°F) and as yeasts (at 37°C/98.6°F). It is found in soils.

Botrytis sp - infectious to plants and their fruits (especially if soft). Can be found in soils and on vegetables.

Cladosporium sphaerospermum - attacks plants, food, soil, paints and textiles.

Conidobolus sp - attacks the nasal mucosa, causing a very serious inflammatory disease.

Cryptostroma corticale - fungi that mostly affects the bark of trees and firewood. Trees normally affected are maple and sycamore trees.

Cunninghamella sp - fungus capable of infecting the lungs of animals.

Curvularia sp - fungus that causes infections on the eye.

Dreschlera sp - also infectious to the eye. Found on grasses, grains and decaying organic matter.

Epicoccum sp - causes allergy. It can grow on paper, textiles, grains, soils and plants.

Epidermophyton sp - fungi that affects the skin and the nails

Fusarium solani - attacks plants and soils. Its toxin, trichothecene, infects both humans and animals.

Geomyces pannorum - this fungus is a saprophyte. It can be found on damp walls, heaps of old papers as usually found in the library. It affects the skin and the nails of humans.

Geotrichum candidum - found in soil, water and in air. It affects the bread in the homes and other foodstuffs. It grows on carpet dust and damp walls. It deteriorates the respiratory system of man.

Gliocladium sp - resembles penicillum sp in its arrangement. It also causes allergy.

Histoplasma sp - mostly found in the human system. It can exist as filaments (at 25°C/77°F) and as yeasts (at 37°C/98.6°F)

Humicuola sp - fungus found mostly in the soils, green matter and other cellulose containing matter. 

Memnoniella echinata - fungus that causes the hydrolysis of cellulose. It can be found on cotton and woolen fabrics. It is a very dangerous indoor fungus.

Phoma sp - exists as Phoma glornerata and Phoma macrostoma. They grow well on moist surfaces in the home such as the bathrooms. They are also known to affect the plants in the garden.

Pithomyces sp - fungus that cause eczema. Found on cut grass.

Rhizomucor sp - causes mucrosis and allergy in humans. It infects the lungs, nasal sinus, brain, eye and skin.

Rhodotorula sp - a yeast genus found on carpets and cooling coils. It causes allergy.

Saccharomyces sp - also causes allergy. Used by bakers as yeast.

Scopulariopsis sp - found on substrates that are arsenic such as house dust and wall papers with Paris green.

Serpula lacrymans - Causes asthma, edema, skin infections and the pulmonary systems.

Syncephalastrum – causes respiratory system damage.

Trichoderma - Lives in the soil and on dead trees. The antibiotics produced are not safe for human consumption.

Trichothecium sp - found in composts, soil and corn meals. Can affect humans and other animals when existing as Trichothecium roseum.

Trichophyton sp - it can easily be located on the soil and the skin. On the skin, it can cause ringworm and athlete’s foot.

Uclocladium - found on painted surfaces in the homes, water based emulsion paints and floor dust. The species are of two types: Uclocladium chartarum and Uclocladium botrytis.

Verticilium sp - Causes infections on the cornea of the eye. It can be found on decaying organic components.

Wallemia sebi - this fungus can grow on dry conditions. This makes it found on bread, jams and cakes. It is believed that this fungus infects plants and farmers that come around the farm.

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