Mold – A Natural Recycling Process
Mold can be destructive, but they are also beneficial. They help to make cheese, fertilize gardens, and speed decaying of garbage and fallen leaves. Today thousands of different types of mold fungi grow on and absorb food from substances such as soil, wood, decaying organic matter, or living plants and other organisms. After the devastating forest fires in Yellowstone National Park, mold was the first on the scene to begin the nature’s process of decaying the leftover matter and building a base for new plants and trees.
Mold in Processes
Certain types of mold have proven extremely valuable in the synthesis of antibiotics and hormones used in medicine and of enzymes used in certain manufacturing processes. Penicillin, a product of the green mold P. notatum, revolutionized antibiotic drugs after its discovery in 1929, and the red bread mold Neurospora is an important tool in genetic experiments.
An interesting fact is if a medicine name ends in "mycin”, you know it was made with mold. Another is that in a few certain kinds of cheeses, mold is added for flavor. Butchers also inject mold into animals before they butcher to preserve the animal. Without mold, we would not have beer or bread. Molds also have many industrial uses, such as in the fermentation of organic acids and cheeses. Some fungi, such as mushrooms and truffles, are considered tasty delicacies that enhance a wide variety of recipes, including pizza. Other molds can damage agricultural crops, cause disease in animals and humans, and form poisonous toxins in food.