What is Myxomycetes?

A little known mold which does show up on many mold testing reports is Myxomycetes. This mold is often skipped over by many inspectors not only because they can’tpronounce it, (Mixo-My-Cee-Tees), but also because they don’t know what it is and howit got there. Myxomycetes have an interesting life cycle which includes a wet spore phase and a dry spore phase. When conditions are favorable, they move about like amoebae, resembling primitive animals. When conditions are not favorable they form a resting body (sclerotium) with dry, airborne spores. Myxomycetes are noconsidered to be true fungi.

Health Effects

Myxomycetes are a type 1 allergen and can cause hay fever like symptoms and trigger asthma. Type I hypersensitivity is also known as an immediate reaction and involves immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated release of antibodies against the soluble antigen. This results in mast cell degranulation and release of histamine and other inflammatory mediators. 

Type I hypersensitivities include atopic diseases, which are an exaggerated IgE mediated immune responses (i.e., allergic: asthma, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and dermatitis), and allergic diseases, which are immune responses to foreign allergens (i.e., anaphylaxis, urticaria, angioedema, food, and drug allergies). The allergens that result in a type I hypersensitivity may be harmless (i.e., pollen, mites, or foods, drugs, etc.) or more hazardous such as insect venoms. The reaction may be manifested in different areas of the body and may result in instances such as:

  • Nasal allergic rhinitis or hay fever
  • Ocular allergic conjunctivitis, potentially due to seasonal allergens such as pollen or mold spores
  • Dermatological hives, atopic eczema, or erythema
  • Soft tissue angioedema
  • Pulmonary reactions, such as allergic asthma or hypoxiaSystemic reaction, which is a life-threatening medical emergency, and also known as anaphylaxis.

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