Testing for mold contamination in buildings may involve collection and analysis of the following types of samples:
Air samples may be collected for total spore/hyphal fragment count (non-culture analysis) or for culture analysis. The analysis includes enumeration and identification of significant species. Both non-culture and culture analyses have some limitations. For example with non-culture analysis, identification of mold spores to species is difficult and for culture analysis only the viable spores/hyphal fragments are detected. In some situations, a combination of the 2 types of samples is recommended.
Tape, Bulk, Swab, Dust Samples for Direct Microscopic and Culture Analysis
Tape, swab, and dust samples are taken from surfaces suspected of mold contamination. For bulk, a piece building material such as a piece of carpet, drywall, insulation material or wood is collected. The analyses of these samples by direct microscopy allows identification to genus but experienced mycologists may identify some molds to species.
If identification to species is required, the samples are cultured in some suitable media. However, as was mentioned for air samples, only viable mold would grow in media. It is therefore recommended that both direct microscopy and culturing are used when identification of species is required.
For details on types of mold testing, click Services.