Molds are fungi that live on the surface of plants and other living substances. There are thousands of types of mold. Different types of mold affect fruits in different ways and at different rates. For example, some types of mold are most likely to affect berries, while others affect thick-skinned fruit such as oranges.
It’s difficult to determine what fruit grows mold the fastest, because mold can’t always be seen. Mold can be dangerous to the health, affecting breathing and possibly causing allergic reactions. It can be affecting fruit even before it can be seen, and once there are circles of mold visible on the surface of fruit, threads have already spread deep inside the fruit. Production of spores is a characteristic of mold and other fungi. Spores can be moved among bunches of fruit quickly by insects, air and water.
Mold and Berries
Gray mold is one of the most common fruit rot diseases. Also known as botrytis, gray mold typically affects berries that are near maturity on vines and plants. Berries that are frequently affected by this type of mold include blackberries, blueberries, grapes and strawberries. Botrytis can spread rapidly on any of these fruits. Young fruits may be affected, but berries are most likely to be contaminated when it is just about harvest time. Handling infected fruit while picking causes this mold to spread to other fruits.
Mold and Soft Fruit
Soft fruits can easily become infected with different types of mold. High moisture content of soft fruits can help mold to spread rapidly throughout the fruit before it is even visible. Soft fruits should be eaten soon after purchasing to insure freshness. Examples of soft fruits include plums and peaches. If mold becomes visible on these fruits, the fruit should be discarded.
Mold and Firm Fruit
Most molds don’t grow as rapidly on fruits that are firm because these fruits have less moisture content and typically have thicker skin. It is more difficult for mold to penetrate thick-skinned fruit. Examples of firm fruits include apples and pears. When small mold spots are found on the surface of this type of fruit, they can be cut off. If more than one mold spot is found, it’s probably better to discard the fruit.
Cleanliness is an important part of mold prevention. The refrigerator should be cleaned frequently, because mold spores can live inside the refrigerator. Fruit should be examined carefully before purchasing and washed thoroughly before eating.
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