Information on Mold Growth on Bread

No matter what kind of bread you eat, if you leave it out under normal conditions, it's almost certain to sprout fuzzy patches of mold within a few days. The carbohydrate and water content of bread make it an excellent medium for mold growth.

  1. Types of Bread Mold

    • Mold growth on bread may be caused by any of a number of different species. Some of the more common bread molds are from the Aspergillus genus; others are species of Penicillium or Rhizopus.

    Identification

    • There is no simple way to accurately identify bread mold at home. While different types of mold may look different and produce a variety of colors, it's impossible to identify a specific species without a microscope and scientific expertise. You may indeed have a species of Penicillium growing on your bread--but it might be a toxic species instead of one that produces pencillin.

    Risks

    • Most types of bread mold are not dangerous to humans. However, some are allergens and can be especially dangerous to people with asthma or other lung problems. A few species are actually toxic. Since there is no way of easily telling which type you have, and since mold extends beyond the visible spots, you should always discard the entire loaf of bread when you see any mold on it.

    Preventing Mold Growth

    • Mold grows best in warm, humid conditions. Keep bread in a cool, dry place to delay the growth of mold. Wash your hands thoroughly before touching bread and always try to avoid touching any part but the piece you are removing to eat. If you are making homemade bread, add a little ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to the bread to inhibit mold growth.

    Encouraging Mold Growth

    • While you don't want to eat moldy bread, it can be an easy and interesting science project for young children. To encourage mold growth, drip some water on a piece of bread--homemade or preservative-free, if possible--then leave it out on a plate in a warm place. Check the bread every day to observe mold growth (but be careful not to handle or inhale the mold).

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