How temperature affects mould growth on bread and cheese

Written by charlotte hills
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How temperature affects mould growth on bread and cheese
Old bread is more vulnerable to mould than fresh bread (Evgeniy Mitroshkin/iStock/Getty Images)

Mould is a type of fungi that grows on stored food, plants and in buildings. It needs a food source like all living organisms, and its growth is directly affected by warm and moist environments. Eating unprocessed mouldy bread and cheese can be dangerous, because some moulds contain mycotoxins, which are fungal spores. For this reason, it is best to avoid eating mouldy food.

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Warm temperatures

Mould likes warm temperatures. Its requirements are similar to our own, and it grows well in households that feel comfortably warm to us. Bread bins provide a stable breading ground for mould, because they limit the air flow around the bread and trap the warm air inside.

Cold temperatures

Mould growth is affected by both warm and cool temperatures. The colder the temperature, the slower the mould will grow. However, refrigerating food does not stop mould from growing. This means food, such as cheese, is still vulnerable to the fungi, and should be eaten before it expires.

Freezing temperatures

Freezing bread or cheese does not kill mould. Keeping food at sub-zero temperatures will, however, stop the mould growing. Freeze bread and cheese if you are not going to eat it quickly, to prevent mould from growing. When you thaw the food to room temperature, bacteria and fungi will be able to breed, and the bread or cheese must be eaten quickly.

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