One of the most common problems in libraries and archives in humid tropical regions is mold. Mold is a general term given to a wide variety of fungi common to most parts of the world. Mold grows through the propagation of its spores, which are always present in the air waiting for the right opportunity to germinate. Moisture provides the necessary conditions for mold germination. The visible signs of mold result from the "flowering" of the spores into mycelium, the familiar, velvet-like surface covering. The mycelium, in turn, becomes powdery and generates more mold spores that become airborne to continue the cycle. At this point, mold spores can be dangerous, and the treatment of mold-infected material must be handled with care to avoid inhalation. Although not all molds are toxic to humans, it is important to regard all infestations as possibly toxic and take the appropriate precautions (respirator and gloves) when entering an infested area.
It is important to remember that mold is usually
the result of high humidity and poor air circulation.
Temperature is less of a factor, except, of course,
as it affects relative humidity (low temperatures
result in moisture condensation on surfaces).
Mold can grow on any moist surface, including
materials such as paper, leather, and book coverings,
causing disfiguring, multicolored stains and greatly
reducing the material's strength.
Please click on the links below to learn more about mold.