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Subject: Mold

Mold

From: Henry Grunder <hgrunder>
Date: Thursday, January 19, 1995
A recent multiple posting tells of the AIC/NIC initiative to provide
disaster recovery information--"Tips"--for victims of the recent floods
in California.  "Tip 3" says, in part, "Moderate light exposure (open
shades, leave basement lights on) can also reduce mold and mildew."
What this appears to be saying is that *light* is, if not a fungicide
(i.e., killer of active mold growth) at least a fungistat (i.e., agent
causing inhibition of active growth, or "bloom," without destruction).
There is also further important distinction here, in that there is
little if any dispute that few modalities--radiation, ETO--will
actually kill dormant mold *spores*, which are ubiquitous.

But where has it been reported as having been "scientifically"
established, i.e., empirically determined if not through controlled
laboratory experimentation with replicable results, then at last through
good clinical observation, that light *is* in fact a fungistat for mold
"blooms?"  I have never seen such research reported.  All that I have
seen is anecdote.  Indeed, the literature is replete with this
assertion, usually quoting someone else who had no better basis for it.
It remains "QED," "Quod erat demonstrandum."  Research is needed . . .
all the more so if we are to go about blithely assuring the public that
we have expert help for them.

Such a research regime could be as simple or as complex as the
researcher chooses.  At its most simple, any of many known library
mycoflora taxa would be selected (Table 5 in Burge et al, "Fungi in
Libraries: An Aerometric Survey" Mycopathologia 64, 2:67-72, at 69,
lists 20).  Multiple cultures would be grown in identical media.  One
colony would be subjected to "light," the other kept dark.  At the end
of the experimental period the colonies would be evaluated, using
recognized procedures, for comparative viability.

The research design could be made increasingly richly multivariate along
one or more of several vectors.  Along one such vector, instead of only
one mycoflora taxum, two (or more) different taxa could be used.  Along
another such vector, temperature/RH variables could be added.  Along
still another, light wavelength/intensity variables could be added.

However, until such research is done, reported, and replicated, I would
argue that the assertion of "Tip 3" must stay in the realm of "Urban
Myth."

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                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:56
                 Distributed: Sunday, January 22, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-8-56-001
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Received on Thursday, 19 January, 1995

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