Why does Bread Mold?

Why does Bread Mold?

We've all seen it. You stick a loaf of bread in your breadbox or pantry, and a few days later you begin to notice blue, green and black fuzz growing on top of it. Bread mold is a common problem, and can actually be the source of many interesting science experiments. But why is a loaf of bread such a desirable source for mold? The answer lies in an understanding of exactly what mold is, where it is found and how it survives.

What is Mold?

Mold is a member of the fungi kingdom, which is a separate categorization from plants and animals. Mushrooms also fall into this category. Fungi can be defined as a plant without chlorophyll, so it cannot get energy directly from the sun. This means that fungi must use other plants and animals as its food source. This is why bread mold is so common - because of the ingredients in bread, it is an excellent source of nutrition for many molds to grow and thrive. It also contains limited moisture content, which is why mold can grow so well instead of bacteria or yeast that requires higher moisture levels to survive.

Bread and Mold Meet

Bread and mold often meet through the mold spores that are in the air. Although you cannot see them, there are probably millions in the air around you. These spores can accumulate in the dust around our home, which is kicked up through cleaning or even someone walking by. The spores can then settle on your bread and the bread molding process will begin. Mold will not only live and feed on bread, it will also reproduce there. This is why you see bread mold spread throughout your loaf if you let it sit there long enough. Mold reproduces as long as it has a nutrient source - sometimes it can double in size in an hour's time.

Growing your Own Bread Mold

Growing bread mold is not hard to do. You can use a slice of bread that has been rubbed along the floor or other dusty surface, and give it a couple of squirts of water from a spray bottle to moisten it. Place the bread in a sealed bag and leave it in a dark place for a few days. You will find that you are able to grow your own bread mold garden with relative ease and in a fairly short period of time. It's a great way to bring science into your home for your kids!