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Time-Lapse of Mold Growth Resembles an Alien Landscape

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids really missed out on the opportunity to see the Szalinskis and Thompsons wander through an exotic landscape of moldy ground, passing beneath the multi-colored, gently-waving hyphae stalks as their spores are released into the air en masse. Ant-Man passed by this microscopic level on his way to the smallest possible dimensions in the Quantum Realm, but he didn’t pause to enjoy the beauty of mold growth from an up-close and personal perspective. Luckily YouTuber Lariontsev did, and has the time-lapse photography to prove it.

Filmed on camera Nikon D70s, this survey of different kinds of mold was carried out over two to eight day periods, with a full turn occurring in seven days’ worth of time. If you’d like to find out more about how these species were grown, the video points you to Ivanova Anna E. of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Department of Soil Science.

mold-time-lapse

Though the video’s description lists the time-lapse as recording  “aspergillus fumigatus botrytis mucor trichoderma cladosporium,” that’s not one “super mold,” but rather a list of various species. Let’s break them down.

  • Aspergillus fumigatus – One of the most common species of the Aspergillus genus, it’s found in soil and decaying organic matter–like compost–where it’s an essential component in recycling carbon and nitrogen. It’s known to cause disease in humans with immunodeficiency issues.
  • Botrytis – A fast-growing genus that afflicts plants, resulting in what’s known as “Botrytis blight” or “gray mold.” A common pest in the greenhouse, this fungus can generate upwards of 60,000 spores in an area the size of your pinky nail, so sanitation along with the use of fungicide and biological controls keep it in check.
  • Mucor – Few species in this fast-growing, cottony, sporangia-forming fungus are pathogenic to humans. The thermotolerant ones that can thrive in the human body can cause fungal infections, known as Mucormycosis.
  • Trichoderma – This genus of fungus is present in all soils and has the ability to form symbiotic relationships with various plant species. In the lab, they can grow conidia ranging from green, to yellow, to white, and can even smell sweet, like coconut.
  • Cladosporium – A genus of common indoor and outdoor molds, Cladosporium form olive-green, brown, and black colonies. Some species can infect plants while others are actually parasites of other fungi. Rarely pathogenic to humans, they can act as allergens that aggravate airways, especially in asthmatics.
  • Mold mites – Tyrophagus putrescentiae and Tyrophagus longior, collectively known as “mold mites,” weren’t mentioned in the video description, adding a creepy surprise for viewers. These critters inhabit a wide range of habitats, complete their life cycles in as little as three weeks, and are known to cause certain diseases among humans. They’d probably make good steeds in Honey, The Kids Are Moldy!

Be sure to check out some still images of the various molds (and mites … gross) below. Then let us know in comments which is the nastiest.

Images: Lariontsev

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