By Drs. Jennifer Doherty and Ingrid Waldron, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, CC-BY-NC 4.0.
Student designed laboratory to evaluate how environmental factors influence the growth of molds.
- 4.1: Moldy Jell-O Protocol
- Green plants can make their own food from sunlight, air, and water. This process is called photosynthesis. In contrast, animals must eat to get food. Molds, mushrooms and other fungi seem like plants because they don’t move. However, fungi do not photosynthesize, so they cannot make their own food. Molds and other fungi often grow on decaying plant material, such as fruit, bread, and leaves. The decaying plant material provides the food for molds to grow.
- 4.2: Fungal Growth Teacher's Preparation Notes
- Molds grow best when both carbohydrates and protein are available, but this difference is not always easily observable, in part because students often transfer some sugar-containing food together with the mold when they inoculate their cups. The Jell-O will tend to become liquid as the growing mold secretes enzymes that digest the protein matrix of the Jell-O.
Thumbnail: A clementine covered with mold. Image used with permission (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unproted; NotFromUtrecht via Wikipedia).