The Dark Beauty Of Mold

Andrew Sullivan —  May 29 2012 @ 10:08am


Heikki Leis photographed the many varieties of mold for his series Afterlife. Mycologist Kathie Hodge enlightens us about our common roommates:

A third of food is lost to spoilage, and most of that is due either to mold or bacteria. Within the realm of the kitchen, some fungi are plant pathogens. For example, when you find a lemon with blue mold, that's a disease the lemon got in the field. That fungus has been eating it all along, despite how well you've washed it. But you don't notice it until it erupts in your kitchen.

She admires the image of beet mold seen above:

Isn't it beautiful? It's so hairy. There are fungi on the surface on the wrinkly beet skin, but I can't guess at what they might be. But it looks like the fungus digested parts of it and then absorbed it into its mycelium. The fluff is the fungus fruiting. Its function is to make more spores. Each hair ends in a sphere with spores that will then look for the next victim.

(Image: Beet mold by Heikki Leis)