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Thread: Help identify fungus or mold

  1. #1 Help identify fungus or mold 
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    Does anyone know what type of fungus or mold this is? These are new roofing shingles that were stored improperly in a wet environment.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman Beard Baron's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, there are far too many fungi that look like that macroscopically. If you were to get microscopic photos, that would certainly be helpful.

    None the less, I'd get that looked at; that much mildew is never a good sign.


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  4. #3  
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    Is there a company that I can send a sample to that will evaluate the fungus? I live near a major research university. I was thinking about contacting someone in the Mycology department. Would this be the correct department?

    Thanks
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    Next to impossible to identify such an organism from a photo such as those shown. To me it looks more like some kind of algae rather than a fungus. I'm not even remotely an expert on the feeding habits of fungi, however, I can't fathom what such a dense covering of fungi on a a stone tile would be feeding on since fungi tend to feed on decaying organic matter. Does the tile have a wooden base?

    Algae just need light, CO2, water and little else. Were the tiles stored in the dark or with some light?

    Just a thought....
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  6. #5  
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    They are asphalt shingles which is a petroleum product. They did not receive any light, as they are stacked one on top of the other. They were packaged in a plastic wrap and had about 15 shingles per bundle.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    Ah, I see it now. I'm using a very small device for internet access at the moment - all I was seeing first time round was brownish dots. The white fluffy stuff definitely looks like a fungal mycelium. Not algae, then.

    From a quick web search it would appear that fungal growth on asphalt shingles is a fairly common issue. Unfortunately I'm not able to shed any light on the identification problem though.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Depends how specifically you want the identification. If I had a sample, I could identify it to genus, with about 80% certainty, simply using a microscope. If you want more than that, the best is a proper 18s ribosomal RNA sequencing, which will give you the genus and species with close to 100% accuracy. The cost of getting this done is about $500, last time I looked.
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  9. #8  
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    Now is a good time to purchase a roll of zinc strip - your roofers will know what to do with it.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  10. #9  
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    I didn't think it would cost that much. I sent the first shipment of shingles back to the manufacturer. I have been having health issues ever since I handled these shingles. It started off as a productive cough for 3 months with various symptoms. I did some research regarding fungal infections, but I couldn't come up with anything. It seems like one would need a compromised immune system before fungus would cause any problems.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Don't believe you are safe because you do not have a compromised immune system. Get a good lungful of the wrong fungal spores and you will come down with the most serious of pulmonary fungal disease. It can kill, in extreme cases.

    There used to be a quite common illness, colloquially called 'farmers lung' from Aspergillus infection. Farmers picked it up when forking hay or silage. The mould grew in the hay or silage, and when it was forked, the spores came up as a dense cloud. One good inhalation, and the lungs are full of spores which germinate. Very nasty!
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  12. #11  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    If you've had a continuous cough for 3 months you should see a physician ASAP.
    "I almost went to bed
    without remembering
    the four white violets
    I put in the button-hole
    of your green sweater

    and how i kissed you then
    and you kissed me
    shy as though I'd
    never been your lover "
    - Leonard Cohen
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  13. #12  
    Time Lord
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    Good advice.


    Nolo, you're not preparing to take this fungus or mold to court are you? :wink:


    BTW, significant condensation in a packet of shingles may be caused by difference of relative humidity: where they're manufactured vs. where they're sold. It is not necessary the bundles actually get wet in shipment or storage. I am no roofer, but I've noticed this several times myself.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    There used to be a quite common illness, colloquially called 'farmers lung' from Aspergillus infection. Farmers picked it up when forking hay or silage. The mould grew in the hay or silage, and when it was forked, the spores came up as a dense cloud. One good inhalation, and the lungs are full of spores which germinate. Very nasty!
    My understanding of farmers lung was that it was a hypersensitivity reaction to the spores, and not actually caused by germination? Therefore, some people would be more susceptible than others. I believe there's also pigeon fanciers lung? Caused by fungi growing on the pigeon faeces.

    I think most people who experience harmful effects from fungi are through allergic reactions to spores. I recently heard a fact that we inhale around 15-30 Aspergillus spores a day and more in the Autumn months (sorry, don't have a source), but most people's immune system suppresses germination. If you're immuno-suppressed/compromised then systemic fungal diseases can be extremely dangerous, with up to 70% mortality for systemic Aspergillus.
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