Stachybotrys

Stachybotrys is a genus of filamentous fungi found in soil worldwide that can also inhabit damp buildings. It is mainly a saprophyte that feeds by degrading cellulose and other dead plant matter and is related to cellulolytic plant pathogens including Fusarium and Myrothecium. Stachybotrys needs slightly different conditions to grow than do other molds. It requires either standing water or a relative humidity of at least 90% for its toxin-containing spores to germinate, compared to the 70 percent relative humidity required by other molds. However, once the spores have germinated, standing water can evaporate and the relative humidity can drop to 70 percent, and the mold will continue to grow.3

StachybotrysColony of Stachybotrys grown for 14 days at WSP30 agar. Source: Mar Drugs. 2014 Apr; 12(4): 1924–1938. doi: 10.3390/md12041924

Stachybotrys produces a variety of toxins that can be absorbed through airways and skin. These include highly-toxic fat-soluble trichothecenes called satratoxins that have killed livestock and sickened humans after contact with contaminated feed. Some recent studies have suggested links between Stachybotrys-infested damp buildings and poor health (iron overload disorder in infants).1

Inhalation of Stachybotrys chartarum has been associated wit "black mold disease," inflammatory lung disease called hypersensitivity pneumonitis and "sick building syndrome" with multiple symptoms that include muscle aches, headaches, cough, pulmonary hemorrhage, dermatitis, and interstitial lung disease.2



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Stachybotrys species along with Fusarium and Aspergillus are commonly found in untreated pistachios and walnuts, with A. niger being the most dominant fungal species in untreated and roasted with salt peanuts.5 Stachybotrys can produce potentially beneficial compounds such as the antiviral stachyflins and a cyclosporin immunosuppressant.

References

  1. Comparative genome sequencing reveals chemotype-specific gene clusters in the toxigenic black mold Stachybotrys
  2. Pulmonary Responses to Stachybotrys chartarum and Its Toxins: Mouse Strain Affects Clearance and Macrophage Cytotoxicity
  3. The Truth about Mold. Susan C. Cooper
  4. TLR9-Dependent IL-23/IL-17 is Required for the Generation of Stachybotrys chartarum-induced Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
  5. Mold Contamination of Untreated and Roasted With Salt Nuts (Walnuts, Peanuts and Pistachios) Sold at Markets of Tabriz, Iran

 

 

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