Bread mould, or rhizopus stolonifer, is a type of fungus. Bread mould develops quickly, although the process is slowed in modern bread products by the addition of mould-inhibiting chemicals. Bread mould requires specific growing conditions to develop.
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Mould spores must be present to grow. Mould spores, ranging from just 3 to 40 microns (0.00012 to 0.0016 inches) in size, exist everywhere in the environment. This means mould growth is possible in any home when given proper growing conditions.
Organic substances provide nutrients for mould growth. This makes bread, fruit and other food products the ideal growing environment for mould.
Mould grows well in temperatures similar to those maintained in most homes. However, mould proves quite versatile as well, growing even on refrigerated food products and in tropical environments.
Mould requires water to survive and grow, with the amount varying depending on the mould variety. This is the condition least likely to be present in adequate amounts. However, bread mould has the advantage of being kept in a bag where moisture does not evaporate. Bread naturally contains moisture, providing adequate growing conditions for mould.
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