Aureobasidium is a classification of mould species (also known as a genus) that houses over 15 different types of mould.
Aureobasidium can be found all around the world either indoors or outside and thrives in warm, damp environments; however, it can also be found in cold, harsh conditions. It will usually grow throughout organic material such as wood, paper, and plant material as well as household areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and air-conditioning units.
The colour of each species varies in colour and texture, usually ranging from a pinkish hue to green or black depending on its maturity. Aureobasidium species also spread via airborne spores and can even cause health concerns if frequently inhaled.
What are the Aureobasidium Species?
While there are over 15 types of species in the Aureobasidium genus, the most common species include:
- Aureobasidium namibia (found growing on marble in Namibia)
- Aureobasidium subglaciale (found in the Arctic)
- Aureobasidium melanogenum (Found in water-based environments)
- Aureobasidium pullulans
The Aureobasidium genus is known for its biological characteristics that allow them to morph into what they need to suit their environment. This means they can survive in multiple environments, including freezing temperatures, saltwater, rainforests and households.
The taxonomy of Aureobasidium is still largely in dispute due to its unstable genetic structure that makes its characteristics easily morphable. As a result, this species can adapt to almost any condition.
What is Aureobasidium Pullulans?
Aureobasidium Pullulans (A. pullulans) is the most common species of its genus. It can exist and survive in multiple environments and is known as a “black yeast” mould due to its black spores. Depending on its maturity stage, A. pullulans may appear a soft yellow, cream or a light pink colour with a smooth texture that becomes more slimy over time.
This species can grow and survive throughout multiple environments, finding its way onto food, plant matter and decaying fruit. It can also be found indoors and throughout the household. If there is Aureobasidium mould found in your home, it’s most likely the A.pullulans strain.
When over-exposed to its spores, A. pullulans is known to trigger allergies, asthma attacks and more serious health concerns in those with underlying conditions. It is also associated with the development of infections of the eye, skin and internal organs.
Where does Aureobasidium Mould Grow?
Aureobasidium survives well in damp, warm environments, usually those with inadequate ventilation and very little natural light. Due to its morphological characteristics, A. pullulans can thrive almost anywhere around the home in both organic or inorganic material. The most common areas you will find this mould include:
- Bathrooms tiles
- Showers, sink basins and baths
- Basements and crawl spaces
- Clothing and wardrobes
- Kitchen areas
- Personal items
- Plant material
Because of its ability to morph and survive in almost any environment, A. pullulans can become extremely problematic. Areas that are exposed to water damage, acidic environments, and even areas with a high salt concentration are enough for this species to thrive.
This species can also spread easily around the home do it its spores, creating a potential infestation if left untreated. While the A. pullulans strain is very common, it is almost impossible to be correctly identified by a visual inspection without a lab analysis. It is therefore recommended to seek a professional mould removal specialist for an inspection and treatment plan.
Is Aureobasidium Mould Dangerous?
When found in small patches around the home, A. pullulans is not considered overly dangerous, however, can be harmful to those with respiratory issues. Generally, over-exposure to any mould strain can lead to more severe reactions if there is an infestation or if you have come into frequent contact with it. Common symptoms can include:
- Skin rashes and inflammation
- Eye or throat irritations
The A. pullulans strain is also a common allergen known to trigger minor and more severe allergic reactions and infections such as:
- Asthma attacks
- Hay fever
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (inflammation of the lung)
- Humidifier fever
- Phaeohyphomycosis (fungal infection)
- Difficulty breathing
By releasing its spores, Aureobasidium can easily create new colonies around the home. If inhaled frequently, there is a heightened risk of experiencing allergic reactions, especially in those with pre-existing respiratory concerns. For highly sensitive individuals, Aureobasidium can even cause the throat to swell and in rare cases, become fatal.
Mould exposure is particularly dangerous for children, the elderly, those with weakened immune systems as a result of illness. If you are concerned about mould growing in your home and its effect on your health, seek out the services of a mould removal specialist for an inspection and treatment plan.
How to Remove Aureobasidium Mould?
DIY removal techniques do not offer a permanent solution to your mould problem, however, if you are after a temporary solution for spot removal, you can try these remedies:
Mix a 50/50 ratio of water and vinegar into a spray bottle, shake well and spray onto the mould affected area. Allow sitting for 10 – 15 minutes before scrubbing clean. For a more concentrated solution, you can try an 80/20 ratio of vinegar and water. Spray onto the affected area and allow to sit for 15 minutes before wiping clean.
In a 250ml measuring cup, combine 125ml of baking soda with 62ml white vinegar and 62ml water ( 2:1:1 ratio) to create a thick paste. Apply the paste on the mould affected area and allow to sit until dry. Scrub away any mould or stains and wipe down with a wet cloth.
Aureobasidium can be a serious health hazard if found throughout the home. If you find larger areas of mould growing throughout the home, then it may be part of a larger problem and requires a professional mould removal team to eradicate the infestation.
Because Aureobasidium can cause serious health concerns, it is not recommended to come in contact with the mould to avoid disrupting its spores. If you are unsure about how to remove Aureobasidium mould, be sure to reach out to a professional mould removal service.
When to Call a Mould Removal Professional?
Aureobasidium is a unique, highly morphable mould strain that can survive in multiple, changing environments.
If you are afraid of mould becoming a problem in your home and are looking for a long-term solution, be sure to call upon a professional team to help you. The MouldMen team will inspect, treat, and provide you with a Mould Management and Prevention Plan to ensure that your home is kept safe and free from mould. Call us on 1300 60 59 60 to book your free inspection today.