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Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores: a Natural History of Toxic Mold.


We encounter molds every day. They can be in the bread we eat or in the air we breathe. Most of the time, we are oblivious to these mycological run-ins and suffer no ill effect from them. However, one strain of mold--stachybotrys--is an increasingly worrisome poisonous agent that can infiltrate every nook and cranny of a house or an apartment. Money, a professor of botany who specializes in mold, presents a scientific overview of this black fungus. Stachybotrys is a toxin-producing mold that was first discovered on damp wallpaper in Prague in the 19th century, before making its way to North America. Although this fungus boasts the largest repertoire of toxins in the highest concentrations, compared with any other mold investigated so far. Money argues that it isn't especially prevalent and that the hysteria surrounding it is often ill informed. As he explores the history of stachybotrys, as well as a host of other molds, he assesses the extent of fungal damage that can occur and considers what relationships can exist between each fungus and various illnesses. OUP, 2004, 178 p., color plates, hardcover, $29.95.
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Publication:Science News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 17, 2004
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