Alternaria is one of the 4 most common types of mold that is commonly found in homes in the United States. It is a type of microscopic fungus classified as a plant pathogen. Alternaria mold is found mostly outside where it causes blights which are responsible for 20 to 50 percent of all crop spoilage.
Alternaria is ubiquitous. The spores are easily airborne. Once airborne, mold can easily enter your home. Once indoors, it often settles in carpets, clothing, and on flat surfaces. It is commonly found in showers and on wallpaper. Additionally, Alternaria mold can grow on the surface of fruits and vegetables. This black velvety mold can be found growing almost anywhere in your home if the spores make entry.
To humans Alternaria is an effective allergen. As Alternaria metabolizes, it produces tenuazonic acid and other mycotoxins which can cause allergic reactions and potentially cause diseases. The large spores Alternaria produces have been known to cause chronic respiratory problems. For this reason, Alternaria has been called “an asthma causing mold.”
As with all molds, Alternaria spores will settle and grow anywhere there is moisture and they will take advantage the slightest bit of neglect. When dealing with Alternaria, as with all molds, the proverbial “ounce of prevention” applies. Dispose of food in a timely manner, wipe up and thoroughly dry spills, buy a dehumidifier and make sure your home is properly ventilated. If mold is growing as a result of persistent plumbing problems or other leaks, you should have this repaired as soon as you can.