Mucor is a filamentous fungus found in soil, plants, decaying fruits and vegetables. Most of the Mucor species are unable to grow at 37°C and the strains isolated from human infections are usually one of the few thermotolerant Mucor species. Colonies of this fungal genus are typically white to yellow or grey and grow rapidly at 25-30°C, quickly covering the surface of the agar. Colonies on culture medium may grow to several centimeters in height. Older colonies become grey to brown in colour due to the development of spores.
Mucor fungi can reproduce asexually with spores, or sexually with compatible strains fusing to create zygospores which contain a mixture of genetic material.
On magnification, these fungi appear in the shape of very fine threads topped with ball-shaped clusters of spores. When the fungi dry out, the spore balls rupture, allowing the spores to spread through the natural environment. Spores can also be spread through running and seeping water.
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Microbiology Safety Considerations -This guide for Australian schools is made available through the courtesy of the author, S K Hoffmann.
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Bacterial and Fungi Cultures Note - (new window, 0.1M, pdf format)