Fungal spores are typically present on most surfaces. Fungal spores remain dormant, however with the right conditions, they will begin to grow.
Building materials such as plasterboard, building paper, fibre cement and other organic and cellulosic materials are examples of nutrient sources for mould indoors. However, it is moisture that is the key determinant of mould growth in the indoor environment.
When building materials are water-damaged, these materials will absorb moisture. Given favourable conditions and sufficient moisture, mould will begin to grow and colonise the surface of these materials, usually appearing as visual discolouration or staining. Some mould types are also capable of producing cellulose enzymes that can break down these materials.
During a building assessment, signs of fungal growth often require laboratory analysis for confirmation and identification of the growth.
Tape lift sampling is an easy way to collect samples on surfaces such as building materials where there is visible mould growth or discolouration. If there are no clear Sellotape or Bio Tapes readily available, a piece of the material can be removed for analysis. Direct examination is then carried out for the confirmation, semi-quantification, and identification of the mould growth. The major advantage is that mould is observed and identified whether it is viable (alive) or non-viable (dead). Both live and dead mould can contain toxins that can be harmful to people.
Focus Analytics conducts analysis to ASTM D7658-17 ‘Standard Test Method for ‘Direct Microscopy of Fungal Structures from Tape’.