Mold vs Fungus: Do You Know the Difference?

Sep 16 2020

What’s the difference between mold and fungus? Right off the bat, we can say that all mold is fungus but not all fungus is mold. Fungus can be many things, including edible. Don’t think you eat fungus? Think again—mushrooms, yeast, and aspergillus oryzae (an ingredient used in the making of Japanese fermented foods like soy sauce and sake beverages). Consider that next time you eat a casserole with cream of mushroom soup in it, bake bread, or go out for sushi.

Here, we’ll define mold and fungus before digging deeper into how they are both similar and different.
mold vs fungus

What is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungus that grows both indoors and outdoors. It thrives in places with moisture and humidity. It can be slimy, velvety, or dry in texture. It can actually be found in a variety of colors. There are also mild forms that result in little or no reaction. However, there are some that are toxic and can lead to deathly concerns. To help you learn more about mold, here are some of our other blogs that we’ve written for you to check out:

What Color is Your Mold?
Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Take Care of Your Mold
What to Do When You Find Mold During Remodeling?

Whis is Fungus?

Singular: Fungus
Plural: Fungi

The world of fungi is massive! There are 144,000 different species of fungi, and so we’ll only be able to give you a small peek into this incredible natural wonder. While some fungi are free-living and can be found either in the soil or water, other types are more parasitic or symbiotic as they form relationships with plants or even animals. They also play an important role when it comes to the environment and nutrition.

Fungi also use the bacteria around them to help break down organic matter. It then releases carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus which then goes into the surrounding soil and atmosphere. More notably, mushrooms are a form of fungi. In fact, the Latin word “fungus” means “mushroom”. Yes, some mushrooms can be poisonous. If you’re out scavenging in the forest for mushrooms, just make sure you know which are edible and which aren’t. For the most part, fungi don’t pose as deadly of a threat as continual exposure to certain mold types.

If you’d like to take a look at some of the MANY different types of fungi, we strongly recommend following Gordon Walker on Instagram at @fascinatedbyfungi. He takes you deep into his adventures of finding different types of fungi while giving you lots of background on each of them.

Here are just a couple of his posts:


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Behold these shinning orange velvety fungi shelves, but maybe cover your nose; these majestic looking mushrooms are known commonly as the #MockOyster or #Phyllotopsisnidulans. They are a saprophytic (wood decay) fungus that often grows gregariously in shelves on rotting wood (oaks especially). Fruiting bodies are long lasting, starting out bright orange with white fuzz, fading over time time to tan. Spores are pinkish/orange to creamy peach. Despite their inviting orange appearance, pleurotoid shape (looking like an oyster mushroom), and appealing fuzzy texture – these mushrooms are not consumed by any culture due to their often overpowering aroma of stinky cabbage/sulfur/sewage. While the aroma can fade, these mushrooms probably still wouldn’t be very appealing texturally as they are quite tough/leathery. Despite the smell, I always get a kick out of seeing these perched on logs in my local parks. They are visually impressive, easy to identify, and can occur across seasons from Winter through Spring. They always remind me of creamsicles – I wish they tasted like them too :/

A post shared by Dr. Fun Guy aka Gordon Walker (@fascinatedbyfungi) on


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Happy Slime Mold Sunday from these dangly alien eggs, otherwise known as #Badhamiautricularis. This slime mold is part of the Physaraceae family. It has “chrome yellow” plasmodium that can envelop whole logs as the holo organism devours everything in its path. The fruiting bodies or sporangia of B. utricularis are little yellow/orange globules that descend on threads, birthed forth from the nascent plasmodium. As the sporangia age, they go from a brilliant yellow to blue/black to dusty iridescent grey. The whole process of plasmodium to mature sporangia can happen in as little as 24-48 hours depending on environmental conditions. I was able to find a paper from 1994 profiling the very efficient Chitinase and B-glucanase enzymatic activity of crude extracts of B. utricularis. Just goes to show, we always have something learn from nature – all the more reason to preserve and treasure biodiversity.

A post shared by Dr. Fun Guy aka Gordon Walker (@fascinatedbyfungi) on

Turn to Rapid Restoration

If you have an issue with mold or fungus growing in your home, let’s talk! Call (612) 239-7411 to set up a consultation. We’ll walk you through our services and what we’re able to do for you in order to get your home habitable again.

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