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ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS - INSPECT, TEST, REMEDY
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE to TEST CLEAN PREVENT
ACCEPTABLE MOLD LEVEL
ACCURACY vs PRECISION of MEASUREMENTS
ACTION GUIDE - WHAT TO DO ABOUT INDOOR MOLD
ACTIVITY of MOLD in BUILDINGS
AIR TEST FOR MOLD: ACCURACY
AIR TEST SAMPLING CASSETTE STUDY
AIRBORNE MOLD COUNT NUMBER GUIDE
AIRBORNE PARTICLE ANALYSIS METHODS
ALLERGEN TESTS for BUILDINGS
ALLERGENS in BUILDINGS, RECOGNIZING
ALLERGY & MOLD IAQ PRODUCTS
ALLERGY TESTS for PEOPLE
ALLERGY TEST ACCURACY
ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN BUILDINGS
BASEMENT MOLD WATER IMPACT
BIBLIOGAPHY for ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, MOLD, IAQ
BIOGAS PRODUCTION & USE
BOD WASTEWATER TEST
BLACK MOLD, HARMLESS COSMETIC
BLACK MOLD, TOXIC & ALLERGENIC
BLEACHING MOLD, Advice about
BOOK MOLD, Moldy Book Cleaning
BOOKSTORE - ENVIRONMENTAL
BROWN HAIRY BATHROOM MOLD
CACTUS FUNGI / MOLD
CAR MOLD CONTAMINATION
CARPET DUST IDENTIFICATION
CARPET MOLD CONTAMINATION
CARPET PADDING ASBESTOS, MOLD, ODORS
CARPET STAIN DIAGNOSIS
CARPET & other STAIN TESTS
CARPET TEST PROCEDURE
CARPETING & INDOOR AIR QUALITY
CARPETING, SELECTION & INSTALLATION
CAT DANDER in BUILDINGS
CLEARANCE INSPECTIONS - MOLD CLEANUP
EFFLORESCENCE, Salts & White / Brown Deposits
FIBERGLASS INSULATION MOLD
FIND MOLD, ESSENTIAL STEPS
FIND MOLD in BUILDINGS, HOW TO
FIRE DAMAGE vs MOLD DAMAGE
FLOODS & MOLD CLEAN/PREVENT
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOODS IN BUILDINGS-mold
FOXING STAINS on books & papers
FUNGICIDAL SPRAY & SEALANT USE GUIDE
GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC
GAS DETECTION INSTRUMENTS
HOUSE DUST ANALYSIS
HOUSEWRAP AIR & VAPOR BARRIERS
HIDDEN MOLD, HOW TO FIND
HUMIDITY CONTROL & TARGETS INDOORS
INDOOR AIR HAZARDS TABLE
INDOOR AIR QUALITY & HOUSE TIGHTNESS
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE
INDOOR AIR QUALITY METHODS COMPARED
INSULATION INSPECTION & IMPROVEMENT
LAB PROCEDURES MICROSCOPE TECHNIQUES
LEAD POISONING HAZARDS GUIDE
Legionella Legionnaires' Disease
Legionella BACTERIA & HVAC Equipment
LIGHT, GUIDE to FORENSIC USE
LP & Natural Gas Safety Hazards
MEDIA BLASTING for MOLD REMOVAL
METHANE GAS SOURCES
MICROSCOPE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
MILDEW in BUILDINGS ?
MILDEW ERRORS - MOLD PHOTOS
MILDEW REMOVAL & PREVENTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD ACTION GUIDE - WHAT TO DO ABOUT MOLD
MOLD ACTIVITY in BUILDINGS
MOLD AGE - Old is the Mold?
MOLD APPEARANCE - WHAT MOLD LOOKS LIKE
MOLD APPEARANCE - STUFF THAT IS NOT MOLD
MOLD ATLAS & PARTICLES INDEX
MOLD BY MICROSCOPE
MOLD CLASSES, HAZARD LEVELS
MOLD CLEANERS - WHAT TO USE
MOLD CLEANUP COMPANIES
MOLD CLEANUP, DO IT YOURSELF
MOLD CLEANUP GUIDE- HOW TO GET RID OF MOLD
MOLD CLEANUP - BLEACH
MOLD CLEANUP - HEALTH RISKS
MOLD CLEANUP - LIMITATIONS
MOLD CLEANUP - MISTAKES to AVOID
MOLD CLEANUP - MEDIA BLASTING
MOLD CLEANUP - SAFETY WARNINGS
MOLD CLEANUP - WOOD FLOORING
MOLD CLEANUP - WOOD FRAMING & PLYWOOD
MOLD CLEARANCE - POST-REMEDIATION INSPECTION
MOLD CONTAMINATION LEVELS, STANDARDS
MOLD DETECTION & INSPECTION GUIDE
MOLD DOCTORS - ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE
MOLD or INDOOR AIR EMERGENCY RESPONSE
MOLD EXPERT, WHEN TO HIRE
MOLD EXPOSURE, FOOD HAZARDS
MOLD EXPOSURE RISK LEVELS
MOLD EXPOSURE STANDARDS
MOLD on or in CARPETS
MOLD ON DIRT FLOORS
MOLD FREQUENCY in BUILDINGS
MOLD GROWTH ON SURFACES, PHOTOS
MOLD GROWTH on SURFACES, TABLE OF
MOLD INSPECTORS & MOLD TESTERS
MOLD INSPECTION HOME BUYERS GUIDE
MOLD INSPECTION SERVICE
MOLD INVESTIGATION PROCEDURE TIPS
MOLD INVESTIGATION REPORTS
MOLD KILLING GUIDE
MOLD LAB REPORTS
MOLD LEVEL REPORTS
MOLD LEVELS IN BUILDINGS
MOLD by MICROSCOPE
MOLD ODORS, MUSTY SMELLS
MOLD PREVENTION GUIDE
MOLD RELATED ILLNESS
MOLD SAFETY WARNINGS
MOLD SPRAYS, SEALANTS, PAINTS
TEST KITS for DUST, MOLD, PARTICLE TESTS
MOLD TEST METHODS, ACCURACY
MOLD TEST PROCEDURES
MOLD TEST REASONS
MOLD TEST SAMPLE POINT CHOICES
MOLD TESTING & SAMPLING MISTAKES
MOLD TESTING SERVICES
ODORS & SMELLS DIAGNOSIS & CURE
PAINTS & COATINGS ODORS IN BUILDINGS
PARTICLE SIZES & IAQ
Particulates & Allergens Indoors
Pesticide Exposure Hazards
PET ALLERGEN REMEDIES
PLASTIC CONTAINERS, TANKS, TYPES
PLASTIC HEATER VENT
PLASTIC ODORS-SCREENS, SIDING
PLUMBING SYSTEM ODORS
RENTERS GUIDE TO MOLD & IAQ
SICK HOUSE IAQ QUESTIONNAIRE
SEWAGE BACKUP, WHAT TO DO
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS
STAINS on INDOOR SURFACES: PHOTO GUIDE
STAINS & Thermal Tracking
TECHNICAL & LAB PROCEDURES
TEST KITS for DUST, MOLD, PARTICLE TESTS
Thermal Expansion Cracking of Brick
THERMAL EXPANSION of HOT WATER
THERMAL EXPANSION of MATERIALS
THERMAL IMAGING, THERMOGRAPHY
THERMAL IMAGING MOLD SCANS
THERMAL MASS in BUILDINGS
THERMAL TRACKING & THERMAL BRIDGING
TRAPPED MOLD BETWEEN WOOD SURFACES
TRIM, INTERIOR INSTALLATION
TRAPPED MOLD BETWEEN WOOD SURFACES
TRUSS UPLIFT, ROOF
TRUSSES, Floor & Roof
Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation UFFI
URETHANE FOAM Deterioration, Outgassing
UV LIGHT BLACK LIGHT USES
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION in BUILDINGS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
VINYL CHLORIDE HEALTH INFO
VINYL Siding or PLASTIC Window ODORS
Volatile Organic Compounds VOCs
WALL SIDING TRIM & FINISHES
WALL FINISHES INTERIOR
WALL CONSTRUCTION BARRIER vs CAVITY
WATER BARRIERS, EXTERIOR BUILDING
WATER ENTRY in buildings
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
World Trade Center Collapse Dust Photos
What does mold look like under the microscope? These mold spores and their photographs (both on site and under the microscope) have been collected in the U.S., Spain, Mexico, France, as well as in other countries. These are aerobiology laboratory photos of mold under the microscope. Also see LAB PROCEDURES MICROSCOPE TECHNIQUES.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
In this article we provide lab photographs of mold under the microscope.
The photo at page top shows Stachybotrys chartarum mold spores under the microscope, and next to them is a photo of the Stachybotrys spore-producing structure or conidiophore. Other photographs and articles at this website will help you find and recognize problematic toxic or allergenic mold in buildings.
Nearly all of our mold spore photographs shown at this mold spore identification assistance page are from field samples collected in buildings. What makes these photographs helpful is that they are "real world" examples of mold spore occurrence, including the surrounding debris and sometimes rough growth patterns of mold spores that occur in situ in buildings.
Mold grown in the laboratory or on cultures is often very crisp, beautiful, and perhaps more easy to identify. But the actual physical structures of mold growth for a given genera and species may vary significantly depending on the material on which the mold is growing - its food. Photographs of mold spores under the microscope shown here are in that sense, more "natural" than those obtained from culture.
Directories of 6 atlases or indices of building mold
Photographs of Mold Under the Microscope
Mold spore photographs are arranged alphabetically here. For example, if you are looking for what Stachybotrys chartarum spores and growth structures or conidiophores look like under the microscope, just scroll down to the "S" section of our identification photographs of mold under the microscope.
Index to Building Mold Genera/Species in This Document
Acremonium like Mold Spore Photographs
Arthrinium sp. mold spore photographs
Arthrinium fungal spores (in close-up at 1200x) form group of at least twenty species, some of which are ovate or lemon-shaped. Possible examples of A. phaeospermum are shown below. This fungus is often confused with the ubiquitous Chaetomium sp. fungal spore when the latter is not fully hydrated. Look for not a fold in the spore (dessicated) but a hyaline band at the junction of the two sides, and look for the birth scar (bottom of the spore at below right) - that's an Arthrinium sp. spore not Chaetomium sp. [Thanks our instructors, mycologists Dr. Harriet Burge and Dr. John Haines.]
Chaetomium sp. is an Ascomycete, born in groups of 8, and without a birth scar as it emerges from a perethicium not by growing on a fungal hypha. And the center fold on Arthrinium will extend pretty much to the ends of the spore.
Photographs of Aspergillus sp. mold spores under the microscope Aspergillus niger culture, Penicillium culture, Penicillium spores - Aspergillus and Penicillium spores are difficult to differentiate when they are found in air that you may see them reported in test results as "Pen/Asp".
Watch out: Most Pen/Asp spores are round, hyaline (colorless) and small and lack surface features to aid in their precise identification by microscope when the spores are found alone, or in air samples (and if not in spore chains). In that case the spores may not even be identified as (potentially harmful) molds and may just be called "amerospores" in the lab report.
But when these spores appear in chains (as that's how they are born) they should not be labeled as "amerospores", and at least some of these airborne spores in the Aspergillus/Penicillium group can be identified from the spore alone, however, such as Aspergillus niger
Also see our lab photographs of dense surface growth of Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus fumigatus side by side, in the same surface sample, but not quite intermixed.
We find lots of the fungus spores shown above, Aureobasidium pullulans, a black yeast fungus, growing on wet or damp wood in buildings, especially on plywood roof sheathing in poorly-vented building attics.
This yeast-like fungus is also often found on caulk or damp window frames in bathrooms. Aureobasidium may be pink or black in color. More detail is at MOLD ATLAS & PARTICLES INDEX. And we discuss this mold further at Recognize Harmless Black Mold.
Biolaris-Drechslera sp. mold spore photographs
Lab microscopic photographs of an Bipolaris-Drechslera spores are provided below. In lab reports Bipolaris sp. and Drechslera sp. fungal spores are often grouped together as a class because of physical similarity.
Ceratocystis/Ophistoma - the Ophistomoid Cosmetic Black Sapstain or Bluestain Molds on Lumber
Laboratory microscopic photographs of Ceratocystis/Ophistoma type mold are a bit tricky in surface samples such as collected from moldy lumber, because usually this mold is dry, often encysted, and because it is not likely to be growing on an indoor surface, the sample may lack clear identifying particles or structures.
Here at above right we show a sketch of the perithecium, ascospores, and conidia of Endoconodiphora coerulescens from the July-August 1953 issue of Mycologia Vol XLV No. 4.
Our photograph at above left shows a fungus found under a basement stairwell that we classified as Ceratocystis/Ophistoma, and in this photograph you can see an enlarged closeup of mold fragments from that sample.
Watch out: Because this dark colored fungal growth appears "black" on wood surfaces, scaring some folks into unnecessary and costly "toxic black mold remediation" projects, we discuss the cosmetic Ceratocystis/Ophistoma mold group in detail at Recognize Harmless Black Mold.
Lab microscopic photographs of an Chaetomium spores: Chaetomium sp. (C. globosum, C. aureum, and others) are very common indoor molds found especially where drywall or other paper covered products have been wet.
Chaetomium sp. (photo below left) is an Ascomycete and is ubiquitous in water damaged buildings, especially on drywall paper. We find Chaetomium fungal growth often co-existing with Stachybotrys sp./ S. chartarum (photo below right - the S. chartarum are the ovate black spores) Where Chaetomium mold growth has been found indoors in spore clusters like this it is probably appropriate to investigate the building leak history and to remain alert for the presence of other indoor mold reservoirs.
Watch out: What Chaetomium fungal spores look like in the microscope depends a lot on how they are prepared (what mountant chemicals) and the extent of spore hydration. So Chaetomium that is not well hydrated remains "folded" to produce a center furrow that can cause it to be mistaken for Arthrinium sp. (a mistake we see in Grant Smith's execllent book of mold photos) and other molds. Our Chaetomiium sp. photo at below left illustrates both hydrated and under-hydrated spores. At below right we see a close-up of a few Chaetomium spores at 1200x via our Polam microscope.
Curvularia sp. mold spore photographs
Curvularia mold spores at above left may not be looking their best in this field photo but this is what you're likely to see at the microscope. The Curvularia sp. at above right was in better condition, showing its attachment scar as well.
Drechslera sp. mold spore photographs
Epicoccum sp. mold spore photographs
Fuglio septica mold & mold spore spore photographs
Fuglio septica is shown under the stereoscopic microscope (less than 100x) at above left, while Fuglio septica mold spores are shown at above right. This fungus is affectionately called "dog vomit mold" by some field investigators as when found growing outdoors on bark chips that's about what it looks like. We do not normally find this mold growing indoors.
Ganoderma sp. mold spore photographs
Gonadobotryum mold spore microphotographs
Meruliporia Incrassata - "Poria" "House Eating Fungus" Mold Microphotographs
Nigrospora sp. mold spore photographs
Oidium (Mildew) sp. mold spore photographs
Penicillium sp. mold spore photographs
Periconia sp. mold spore photographs
Phoma sp. mold spore photographs
Puffball mold spore photographs
Smut spore photographs
Stachybotrys sp. / Stachybotrys chartarum black mold spore photographs
Stemonitis mold & mold spore photographs
Stemonitis mold & photographs of stemonitis mold spores common growing indoors on wet oriented strand board.
Torula sp. mold spore micro-photographs
Ulocladium mold spore micro-photographs
Ulocladium sp. is often confused with similar looking versions of Stemphylium sp. and with some species of Alternaria sp. particularly as immature Alternaria spores can look like the simpler ovate cross-septated Ulocladium chartarum. And worse there are species of Ulocladium (U. alternariae - cf Ellis) that look like (and are even named after Altenaria sp.). The differentiation between species of Alternaria and Ulocladium is not difficult once you've been instructed by a mycologist. The "tail" you see on the Alternaria-like mold spores still attached to hyphae (photo below right) comprises the attachment point for the spore to its hyphae. The "tail" on an Alternaria spore is at the opposite end of the mold from its attachment. That is, an Alternaria spore is attached to its hyphae at its larger "head" end, not by its tail.
Ulocladium chartarum (below-left). Ulocladium sp. (below right).
Below are microphotographs of U. chartarum grown in culture by the author [DF].
We have almost 900,000 photomicrographs of mold spores and pollen grains - more are coming to this website. If you need to see a specific image, contact us. Content Use / Reproduction Policy - it's OK to reproduce web articles in non-commercial-use printed form only, do not make electronic copies. MAKING ELECTRONIC COPIES OF our WEBSITE CONTENTS (such as copying our pages, content from our pages, or our graphics to another website or into email) IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED - this website is © protected material, all rights reserved.
Frequenlty Asked Questions (FAQs) about the appearance of or identification of mold spores, conidiophores, & hyphae under the microscope
May I know if I can spot on cloth and wonder if that is cause by mold, what would be the test charge with microscopy identification in your side? - Ann 5/11/11
If you are discussing mold on clothing or a cloth curtain, in my opinion it would not be economically justified to test it unless that test were necessary as part of a wider environmental investigation. The cost of testing a tape or vacuum sample of surface mold is typically $50. - which is more than the cost of having the item professionally cleaned or in some cases just replaced.
Question: can you see mold spores under a regular light microscope? What about cellular structures & nucleii?
if you were looking under a regular light microscope at fungus, would you see spores and would you see anything inside cell such as nucleus or would you need a more powerful microscope? - Alan 5/21/2012
Take a look at the mold spore photographs in the article above. The highest magnification we can use under most light microscopy is around 1200x, enough to see small spores down at the 1 micron level. In some cases of larger spores or more likely larger pollen grains, one can sometimes make out internal parts and components of an individual pollen grain or mold spore, but not the nucleus of an individual cell.
Our basement flooded during hurricane Irene in 2011. When we finally got power, we used a heavy industrial vac to remove the water from the basement. We moved everything into a dryer corner of the basement, and ran dehumidifiers. The entire basement seemed to dry within a matter of 2 days.
Reader further comment:\
I took pictures of the things that were precious to me; gave thanks and praise to God for the blessings that I had and still have, and then threw everything out!
At MOLD ACTION GUIDE - WHAT TO DO ABOUT MOLD we provide procedures for cleaning up a mold problem, and at EMERGENCY RESPONSE, IAQ, GAS, MOLD as well as at DISASTERS: BUILDING INSPECTION & REPAIR we describe procedures for handling building flooding following a hurricane, storm surge, sewer backup or similar problem.
At BOOK MOLD, Moldy Book Cleaning you can read about how we deal with books or papers that people want to save after flooding. Basically, if you have moldy papers that you need to save but cannot afford to clean, try drying them in sunlight (some folks try a microwave located outdoors), followed by gentle wiping and then store these modly items in a dry air-tight plastic box. The items will not have been cleaned and should not be handled without appropriate precautions, but they can at least be retained.
Thank you for the question.
Questions & answers or comments about what building mold looks at under the light microscope at magnifications from 10x to 1200x. .
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Technical Reviewers & References
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