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  1. here is a site that can help with picture, copy paste: http://books.google.com/books?id=0TMWGF ... #PPA127,M1 best
  2. Well, i dont know about scratching the surface and exposing the coloration. There are several tests. There is Pick or Splinter Test done on wood surfaces to test for decay. Per Zabel and Morrell (1992), you can drive a screwdriver or awl in the wood at acute angle and bent back to snap a small piece of wood from surface. Brash breaks tells you low strength and possible presence of decay. If splintery breaks then you have sound wood. it is a good indicator of early decay.
  3. Hi Randy: For the most part yes, identifying the fungus would provide more info. But the basidiomycetes fungi (your mushrooms and nasty wood rots) have a unique pattern of growth that one could recognize almost immediately. They grow fan like and usually are lobed toward the edges. Mold colonies generally have very pronounced surface that is cottony or fluffy either because of heavy sporulation or just the mass of mycelium on the surface. More importantly depending on how large of a surface the colonization is, in case of wood rotter (mainly basidiomycetes) you can stick a crew driver or knife to see if the wood is soft. If soft most likely what you saw on the surface is a wood rot. Again generally this is the case. "I personally am not able to identify the different species of mold fungi, therefore I can't make the statement that the mold I saw will destroy the wood. Also correct?" if macroscopic identification at the higher level (described above between basidiomycetes and general mold) not possible then yes, you are correct. you can refer to this website of Univ of Minn.: http://rotban.typepad.com/files/univers ... od-rot.pdf or better yet check out the book by Zabel and Morrell. Wood Microbiology. it is a fantastic book. You can also contact Dr. Quarles at cooperative Extension in Univ of California (UCCE), hope this helps. best
  4. Hi Jim: the common molds are generally do not compromise the integrity of the wood like the more specialized fungi, wood rotters do. Molds in general do not simply have the mechanism of consuming complex material like Cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin (all of which are component of wood). The wood decay fungi however are capable of consuming these complex molecules. Now some mold fungi like Chaetomium can rot the wood and are included on the soft-rot category all by themselves. The are no way close to the level of destruction that white rot or brown rot fungi are capable to cause. The typical molds are not generally capable of penetrating the cell wall because they are generally Saprophyte (live on dead organic material) and not plant pathogens that require live tissues. I hope this helps. best
  5. Hello there: for fungi (ALL) to grow they need available water that would come in contact with their hyphae (vegetative body). The popular belief that fungi absorb moisture from the air is a myth and has no scientific bases. This has scientifically been shown (and published). They simply cannot absorb moisture from the air until it is available to it. That's why we dont see mold covering the entire state of florida or Hawaii or wherever there is high humidity[:-graduat The concept of water activity(Aw) and fungal growth was mainly used for food industry and i do not think it should be applied to indoor air quality and building science. It has been misused a lot and caused unnecessary headache for many. Actually most Penicillia are not Xerophillic or thermophillic. they do well in cooler temperatures. Aspergillus species are mostly xerophollic and many are thermophillic as well. I am told by our CIH's that the cameras show temperature differential and not necessarily moisture. moisture readers still should be used. But the advantage, i am told, is that cameras (infrared) direct you to hidden places. But as you suggested, they do not find molds. best
  6. Just another sad story. Lack of scientific evidence, misinformation, possibly misdiagnosis, failure to show cause and effect. it appears a lot of people are involved trying hard to relate their problem to "mold" or "toxic mold". No mentions in the article that there was mold growth and what it was. water stains do not necessarily mean mold growth. This is a common assumption. For fungi/mold to grow you need a few things: generally spores, food source, and moisture. You cant control food source and spores because they are everywhere indoors. But moisture can be and ought to be controlled. Without it mold cannot grow.
  7. Jim: there are indeed many ridiculous certification out there; a few you can even get online as long as you pay the fee! Everyone can open the book and learn how to sample. It is not rocket science. Honestly, you guys, the home inspectors, have to have a broad knowledge of everything about the building before you could start inspection. You have to be knowledgeable and be experienced to do a decent job of inspection. I am not qualified to inspect houses but pretty much everyone can do Mold sampling as it is very easy to do. The challenge is how to interpret the results and this is what many out there have done such a terrible job of that they have given the industry a bad name. Education has some to do with it but common sense is more important. For example, when some inspector find a single Stachybotrys spore they exaggerate and say they have to clean up the place, containment etc. when we know spores can get in from outside very easily and finding a few spores in the absence of growth means very little and is insignificant. The most important thing is visual inspection and common sense. to be continued...
  8. John: if you absolutely have to have a mold certification, IAQA organization offer courses that are simple and straight forward for sampling. The best book i can recommend you to read and use as reference, is Bioaerosos: Assessment and Practice, 1999, by American Conf. of Gov. Industrial Hygienists. They cover everything and it is THE book of the industry. best --payam
  9. thank you Mike for the introduction. I am looking forward to share what i know on the topic with others. I hope we can separate facts from fictions about mold, fungi, indoor air quality etc. regards
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