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2009-05-09 Stachybotrys chartarum (Ehrenb.) S. Hughes 43158.jpg
Conidiophores of Stachybotrys chartarum with clusters of phlialides
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Ascomycota
Class: Sordariomycetes
Order: Hypocreales
Family: Stachybotryaceae
Genus: Stachybotrys
Corda (1837)
Type species
Stachybotrys atrus
Corda (1837)

~ 50, see text

  • Synsporium Preuss (1849)
  • Fuckelina Sacc. (1875)
  • Gliobotrys Höhn. (1902)
  • Hyalobotrys Pidopl. (1948)
  • Hyalostachybotrys Sriniv. (1958)
  • Ornatispora K.D.Hyde (1999)

Stachybotrys (/ˌstækiˈbɒtrɪs/) is a genus of molds, hyphomycetes or asexually reproducing, filamentous fungi, now placed in the family Stachybotryaceae. The genus was erected by August Carl Joseph Corda in 1837. Historically, it was considered closely related to the genus Memnoniella,[2][3] because the spores are produced in slimy heads rather than in dry chains. Recently, the synonymy of the two genera is generally accepted.[4] Most Stachybotrys species inhabit materials rich in cellulose. The genus has a widespread distribution and contains about 50 species.[5] The name comes from the Greek words σταχυς stakhus (ear of grain, stalk, stick; metaphorically, progeny) and βότρυς botrus (cluster or bunch as in grapes, trusses).

The most infamous species, S. chartarum (previously known as S. atra) and S. chlorohalonata, are known as black mold or toxic black mold in the U.S., and are frequently associated with poor indoor air quality that arises after fungal growth on water-damaged building materials.[6] Stachybotrys chemotypes are toxic, with one producing trichothecene mycotoxins including satratoxins, and another that produces atranones.[7] However, the association of Stachybotrys mold with specific health conditions is not well proven and there exists a debate within the scientific community.[8][9][10]


Conidia are in slimy masses, smooth to coarsely rough, dark olivaceous to brownish black, obovoid, later becoming ellipsoid with age, 10–13 × 5–7 mm. Phialides are obovate or ellipsoidal, colorless early then turning to olivaceous with maturity, smooth, 12–14 × 5–7 mm, in clusters of 5 to 9 phialides. Conidiophores are simple, erect, smooth to rough, colorless to olivaceous, slightly enlarged apically, mostly unbranched but occasionally branched. Conidia of Stachybotrys are very characteristic and can be confidently identified in spore count samples. This genus is closely related to Memnoniella. Species of Memnoniella may occasionally develop Stachybotrys-like conidia, and vice versa.[11]


Four distinctive microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) – 1-butanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol, 3-methyl-2-butanol, and thujopsene – were detected on rice cultures, and only one (1-butanol) was detected on gypsum board cultures.[12]


Stachybotrys spores 10 × 40 magnification under bright field microscopy

Symptoms of Stachybotrys exposure in humans[edit]

A controversy began in the early 1990s after analysis of two infant deaths and multiple cases in children from the poor areas of Cleveland, Ohio, United States, due to pulmonary hemorrhage were initially linked to exposure to heavy amounts of Stachybotrys chartarum. Subsequent and extensive reanalysis of the cases by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have failed to find any link between the deaths and the mold exposure.[13][14]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Synonymy. Current Name: Stachybotrys Corda, Icon. fung. (Prague) 1: 21 (1837)". Species Fungorum. Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  2. ^ Haugland, Richard A.; Vesper, Stephen J.; Harmon, Stephen M. (January–February 2001). "Phylogenetic relationships of Memnoniella and Stachybotrys species and evaluation of morphological features for Memnoniella species identification". Mycologia. 93 (1): 54–65. doi:10.2307/3761605. JSTOR 3761605. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 19, 2018 – via Zenodo.
  3. ^ Castlebury, Lisa A.; Rossman, Amy Y.; Sung, Gi-Ho; Hyten, Aimee S.; Spatafora, Joseph W. (August 2004). "Multigene phylogeny reveals new lineage for Stachybotrys chartarum, the indoor air fungus" (PDF). Mycological Research. 108 (8): 864–72. doi:10.1017/S0953756204000607. PMID 15449591. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 3, 2019.
  4. ^ Seifert, Keith A.; Gams, Gareth; Morgan-Jones, Walter; Kendrick, Bryce (2011). The Genera of Hyphomycetes. CBS Biodiversity Series. Utrecht, the Netherlands: CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre. pp. 1–997. ISBN 978-90-70351-85-4. ISSN 1571-8859.
  5. ^ Paul M., Kirk; Cannon, Paul F.; Minter, David W.; Stalpers, Joost A., eds. (2008). Dictionary of the Fungi (10th ed.). Wallingford: CABI. p. 659. ISBN 978-0-85199-826-8. LCCN 2009285939.
  6. ^ Nielsen, Kristian Fog (July 2003). "Mycotoxin production by indoor molds" (PDF). Fungal Genetics and Biology. 39 (2): 103–17. doi:10.1016/S1087-1845(03)00026-4. PMID 12781669. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 10, 2017.
  7. ^ Andersen, Birgitte; Nielsen, Kristian F.; Thrane, Ulf; Szaro, Tim; Taylor, John W.; Jarvis, Bruce B. (2003). "Molecular and phenotypic descriptions of Stachybotrys chlorohalonata sp. nov. and two chemotypes of Stachybotrys chartarum found in water-damaged buildings" (PDF). Mycologia. 95 (6): 1227–38. doi:10.1080/15572536.2004.11833031. PMID 21149024. S2CID 203881222. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 17, 2018 – via the University of California Berkeley.
  8. ^ Rudert, Amanda; Portnoy, Jay (2017). "Mold allergy: Is it real and what do we do about it?". Expert Review of Clinical Immunology. 13 (8): 823–835. doi:10.1080/1744666X.2017.1324298. PMID 28453304. S2CID 4755858.
  9. ^ Chang, C.; Gershwin, M. E. (2019). "The Myth of Mycotoxins and Mold Injury". Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology. 57 (3): 449–455. doi:10.1007/s12016-019-08767-4. PMID 31608429. S2CID 204458646.
  10. ^ "You Can Control Mold | CDC". 17 May 2021.
  11. ^ Morey, Philip R. (2007), "Microbiological Sampling Strategies in Indoor Environments", Sampling and Analysis of Indoor Microorganisms, Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 51–74, doi:10.1002/9780470112434.ch3, ISBN 978-0-470-11243-4, retrieved 2020-10-27
  12. ^ Gao, Pengfei; Martin, Jennifer (June 2002). "Volatile metabolites produced by three strains of Stachybotrys chartarum cultivated on rice and gypsum board". Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. 17 (6): 430–6. doi:10.1080/10473220290035462. PMID 12049433. NIOSHTIC No. 20022270.
  13. ^ "Case Definition for Acute Idiopathic Pulmonary Hemorrhage in Infants". National Center for Environmental Health. Archived from the original on November 15, 2001.
  14. ^ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (March 10, 2000). "Update: Pulmonary Hemorrhage/Hemosiderosis Among Infants — Cleveland, Ohio, 1993–1996". Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 49 (9): 180–4. PMID 11795499. Archived from the original on May 20, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • Progovitz, Richard F. (2003). Black Mold: Your Health and Your Home. The Forager Press. ISBN 978-0-9743943-9-8.

External links[edit]