Mold certainly has a bad reputation, and in most cases, it is deserved. But not all molds are harmful. In fact, there are some varieties of mold which play significant roles in our everyday lives.
For example, neither bleu cheese nor Roquefort cheese would be possible without the blue-green mold known as Penicillium roqueforti which grows within the cheese and helps to break down complex organic molecules into simpler ones. This is part of what produces the sharp flavor and aroma associated with these two cheeses.
Another key use for mold is in the making of medicine. 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. And without mold, we would not have many varieties of bread or beer.
With all these beneficial uses, however, it is still important to remember that there are many types of toxic mold and some of them are extremely dangerous to humans. In general, mold is something which should be avoided. If you see mold growing in your home, it is important to not only completely remove the mold, but to determine the source as well so you can prevent it from returning. If you suspect a mold problem in your home, don’t wait to take action.