Mold is one type of fungus. It can measure from two to 10 microns in diameter, making it virtually invisible to the naked eye. When multiple mold spores grow close together they become visible as they spread rapidly across a surface. Molds include all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae. A connected network of these tubular branching hyphae has the same DNA and is considered a single organism, referred to as a colony or in more technical terms a mycelium. Molds do not form a specific taxonomic or phylogenetic grouping, but can be found in the divisions Zygomycota, Deuteromycota and Ascomycota. Although some molds cause disease or food spoilage, others are useful for their role in biodegradation or in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes.

The fungi are heterotrophic organisms characterized by a chitinous cell wall, and in the majority of species, filamentous growth as multicellular hyphae forming a mycelium; some fungal species also grow as single cells. Sexual and asexual reproduction is via spores, often produced on specialized structures or in fruiting bodies. There are many types of fungi that are not molds. For example, mushrooms are a fungus but they are not a type of mold. There are many different forms of Fungi, including, but not limited to: mushrooms, molds, yeast, lichen, rusts, and truffles. Slime molds and water molds are not fungi. The discipline of biology devoted to the study of fungi is known as mycology. Fungi (singular fungus) are a microscopic substance that exists in the air around us all the time. It is neither plant nor a type of bacteria—it’s a separate type of living organism that occupies its own kingdom of eukaryotic organism’s classification.


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