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  • Writer's pictureMillines Herman

Mold of the week: Basidiospores

Colony Description:

  • Basidiospores are a group of fungi which are produced by mushrooms, puffballs, shelf fungi, rusts, smuts, and many other fungi

Spore (Conidia) Description:

  • Spores of basidiomycetes are characterized by some sort of attachment peg on its surface that functions in anchoring the spore to the basidium. Some basidiospore may also have an apical pore present. Another unique aspect of basidiospores is their bilateral symmetry.

Habitat outdoors:

  • Soil, decaying plant debris, compost piles and fruit rot

Habitat Indoors:

  • Water damaged building materials (chipboard/OSB, plywood, wallpaper, glue) as well as on food items (dried foods, cheeses, fruits, herbs, spices, cereals)

  • Responsible for three types of wood rot, therefore, if high counts of Basidiospores are isolated indoors as compared to indoors it means that the wooden structures are severely compromised:

  1. soft rot: can degrade all three structural components of wood: cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. For soft rot to occur constant moisture must be present and in the Caribbean is associated with locations which have experienced intense flooding.

  2. White rot: primarily degrades the lignin of wooden structures leaving behind the white cellulose. Wood impacted by white rot appears white and stringy.

  3. Brown rot: also incorrectly termed as “dry rot”. Fungi forms appear as rubbery root-like structures and forms resistant rhizoids which can transport water over long distances to impact wooden structures on which they grow.

Potential Health Effects:



  • Type I allergies (hay fever, asthma).

  • Type III hypersensitivity pneumonitis: Lycoperdonosis (puffball spores), Mushroom culture hypersensitivity.


  • Asexual forms may cause rare opportunistic infections. The yeast Cryptococcus neoformans is a basidiomycete.

Toxin production:

  • Mushroom toxicosis (poisoning) is usually a result of ingestion of the following toxins: amanitins, monomethyl-hydrazine, muscarine, ibotenic acid, psilocybin.


  1. Caltex Mold Services (2007) Basidiopsores Accessed: September 15, 2019.

  2. EMLAB P&K (2019) Basidiospores Accessed: September 15, 2019.

  3. EMLAP P&K (2004) Wood Decay Fungi – an Insight on Types and Roles in Wood Decay Accessed: September 15, 2019.

  4. Photo Credit:

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