How to Distinguish Between Mold and Yeast

How to Distinguish Between Mold and Yeast

Yeast and mold are two of the most common fungi. Yeast grows in nature, though with the advancement in biology and technology, it can be cultured for a variety of industrial applications. Mold, on the other hand, grows on places such as food, clothes, walls, and ceilings. The two are very confusing if you don’t know the difference. This is because they have similar characteristics and properties. If you have been confused about the difference between the two, read below to learn about each.

Yeast defined

Yeast belongs to the fungus kingdom, known scientifically as Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. They have a unicellular structure, though there are varieties that display multicellular properties. Their size is microscopic and in most cases, the entire organism is just a single oval cell. They multiply by dividing from every single cell. This implies that all yeast cells are identical to one another. For them to survive, there has to be an organic host where the yeast will get the nutrients they need to survive. This is why they grow in nature on items that have or once had organic life.

Mold defined

Mold is also a fungus and a very common and dangerous one. This is why mold infestation is a worry and mold cleanup is recommended as soon as the presence of this fungus is detected. Scientifically, the type of mold common in homes is known as Stachybotrys Chartarum. They are complex multicellular organisms that normally grow in very large colonies and have similar structures to fungi. The molds within the same colony usually display the same structure and every colony of mold is normally recognized as an independent mold organism. Just like yeast, mold needs an organic host from where to get their nutrition. They can’t make their food through photosynthesis and so they must just rely on an organic host.

Mold vs Yeast: Appearance

Mold spores are microscopic, making them completely invisible to the naked eye. It is for this reason that mold remediation requires experts and needs to be done as soon as possible. When a mold colony is fully formed, they may become visible to the naked eye, and mostly, they will inhibit a variety of colors with the common ones being purple, pink, orange, black or white. Upon closer physical examination, they have a furry feeling and a fuzzy look.

Yeast, on the other hand, is mostly colorless, though they may sometimes appear white. They have a very smooth touch, and at the very initial stage, it is not easy to distinguish them from the organic matter they have grown on.

Mold vs Yeast: Where do they grow?

If you have ever dealt with cleaning after flood damage, then you probably have an idea about cleaning the mold. For mold to grow, certain conditions must be right: the place has to have moisture and organic matter. This is why they are usually common occurrences in places such as flooded basements.

Once grown, the pores can be spread from the growth substrate to other places such as food, clothes, and furniture. In instances of moisture intrusion in homes such as those occasioned by floods, broken plumbing, or water damages on cracks, walls or ceiling, the conditions may be right, creating room for mold infestation.

Yeast, on the other hand, grows naturally on the soil, fruits, and plants. They can also grow on humans, animals and even in the intestinal tracts of animals. Yeast can also be found naturally in the female reproductive organs, on the throat, and in the mouth.

Because yeast tends to have a higher affinity to sugar-rich products, it is always found in abundance in vegetables and fruits, and it is a vital component in the fermentation process. During the fermentation process, fruits come into contact with air, they become oxidized creating perfect conditions for the growth of yeast.

Yeast Vs Mold: Uses

Yeast is mainly used in the production of ethanol which is then used in the production of alcoholic beverages such as beers, nutritional supplements for vegan diets, and leavening agents such as baking powder. Since they have a simple cellular structure, they are also valuable learning and experimentation materials for geneticists, where they are being used to investigate processes such as DNA replication and recombination and cell cycles.

Molds, on the other hand, are used in producing foods and drinks such as salami, rennet, cheese, sake, and sauce among others. They are also heavily used in the formulation of antibiotics such as penicillin, the production of cholesterol-lowering drugs like lovastatin, and cyclosporine which is an immunosuppressant.

Yeast Vs Mold: Health Risks

Yeast is known to cause a variety of infections in individuals with compromised immune systems. Exposure to them can lead to diseases such as cryptococcosis. They can also cause a condition known as candidiasis for those who get exposed to yeast candida.

Certain types of mold are harmful to human health when one is exposed to large quantities. They can cause a variety of respiratory and allergic reactions. Some produce harmful substances known as mycotoxins that can have lethal effects on both humans and animals. Some of the common symptoms of mold allergies include chronic cough, nasal blockage, migraines, tiredness, rashes, difficulty in breathing and frequent sneezing among others.

Mold is also known to cause a variety of skin infections, and if they find their way to the lungs, kidneys, or other sensitive organs, they can be life-threatening.

Yeast Vs Mold: Treatments

The best way to avoid all the harmful effects of yeast and mold is to avoid infestation. In the case of infestation, it is imperative that you call a professional with the right training and gear to help with the removal. For yeast infections, antibiotics and anti-fungal creams can be used. For mold, however, simply avoid exposure to large quantities, and in case of exposure, seek medical assistance as soon as possible.