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Environmental Factors that Affect the Growth of Molds

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Environmental Factors that Affect the Growth of Molds

Life Science

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You will discover how and what environmental conditions promote mold growth.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Explain the role of spores in mold reproduction.
  • Explain the role environmental factors have on mold growth.
  • Explain that molds are fungi which make up their own kingdom of organisms, separate from plants and animals.

Everything You'll Have Covered

The Bread Mold Fungus, Rhizopus stolonifer, is one of the most common molds. Like any living organism, molds (or fungi) need food, water, and proper temperature to grow. Due to the poor nutritional value of white bread, mold grows easier on whole wheat bread.

Molds are mostly water. All of the biochemical reactions necessary for life must take place in the cytoplasm of the cell. The water environment of the cell allows all of the components to mix properly. It also prevents the mold from drying out, since water is crucial for survival.

Because molds cannot control their temperature, they must grow and develop at the temperature of their environment. In the solution inside mold cells, enzymes direct the biochemical processes of the cells. These enzymes tend to work faster as temperature increases. For most molds, the optimal temperature is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Molds do not need light for normal growth, because they do not make their own food like plants do. Molds use extracellular digestion (eat food) that was at some point produced by plants.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 20 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be familiar with Spontaneous Generation: Redi’s Experiment and Reproduction.
Course Life Science
Type of Tutorial Experiment
Key Vocabulary asexual reproduction, bread, control, environment, fungi, glass cover, germinate, growth, light, mold, moisture, regulator, sexual reproduction, spore, temperature