Bread mold fun facts

Updated November 21, 2016

If you've ever forgotten about a loaf of bread in your pantry or cupboard, chances are there will be mould covering the bread when you finally examine it. Mold is common, and there are some interesting things you might want to know about it.

Bread Mold Is Not a Plant

Though mould is a living organism and spreads as it grows, it is not a plant, but is in fact a fungus. The mould that grows on bread is related to other members of the fungi family, such as mushrooms and toadstools. Bread mould is one of the most common fungi in the world. It's scientific name is Rhizopus stolonifer.

Bread Mold Does Not Need Light to Grow

Because bread mould is not an actual plant, it does not require sunlight to grow. Plants need sunlight for photosynthesis, the process by which they make their own food. Bread mould derives its nutrients from the bread on which it grows, and as a result, it can grow just fine in the dark. Bread mould growing in the dark is also less prone to drying out from direct sunlight and the heat that accompanies it.

Water Accelerates Bread Mold Growth

If you wish to grow bread mould quickly, sprinkle a piece of bread with several drops of water. After two or three days, mould is almost certain to be growing on the wet spots on the bread. The reason for this is that the moisture helps prevent the mould from drying out, and it allows the internal components of the mould spores to mix and move freely. Some mould spores are always present in the air around us, and when a spore lands in a damp area, it finds the moist spots to be much more suitable for growth than a dry spot.

Bread Mold Grows Quicker in Warm Areas

Like other living organisms, bread mould thrives when it is near a particular temperature range. Mold cannot regulate its own temperature and is at the mercy of the surrounding climate. If the temperature is too cold, the mould will slow and become dormant. Too hot of temperatures will actually kill the mould. Bread mould grows well when the temperature is approximately 26.7 degrees C. Since most households keep temperatures below 26.7 degrees C, you can place the bread in a warm place, such as on top of the refrigerator, to accelerate its growth.

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