Difference Between Molds and Yeast (With Table)

Fungi are eukaryotic complex multicellular organisms. They have filaments which are termed hyphae. The fungal cell wall consists of glucans, chitin, and glycoproteins. The mode of reproduction is spore formation. They can survive in diverse habitats. The various microorganisms under fungi are molds, yeast, rusts, smuts, mildews, and many other.

Molds vs Yeast

The main difference between molds and yeast is that molds contain multicellular filaments while yeast contains a single cell. The molds reproduce through spores while the yeast undergoes budding as the mode of reproduction. Molds have a fuzzy appearance while on the other hand yeast has a thread-like appearance.

Molds are found in damp and dark areas which have no sunlight and ventilation. It survives on a heterotrophic mode of nutrition. It is the main reason for food spoilage and hence is widely used in the food technology industry, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and beverage (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) production units.

While yeast is found on the skin of vegetables, fruits, and other living beings. It is even found between the toes of humans and in the gut of several creatures. It survives on the chemoorganotrophic mode of nutrition. It is widely used in fermentation, baking, brewing, beverage production, and can even generate electricity.

Comparison Table Between Molds and Yeast

Parameters of ComparisonMoldsYeast
Type of cellsMulticellularUnicellular
Mode of nutritionHeterotrophy, which means that they survive on organic matter Chemoorganotrophs, that is they depend on organic compounds for growth and survival
Mode of reproductionSpore formationFission Or budding
Viable environmental conditionsFound in damp, dark places with no sunlight and ventilationFound on the skin of fruits, vegetables, the skin of several mammals, and in the gut of many living beings
UsesBiotechnology, food science, antibiotics, pharmaceutical, and beverage industry Fermentation, baking, beverage production industry, generate electricity through microbial fuel cells and play a significant role in the biofuel industry by producing ethanol.

What are Molds?

Molds (or singular Mould), are a member of the fungal kingdom. The growth of molds is observed as multicellular filaments which are termed hyphae. The hyphae provide a fuzzy, fine white thread-like appearance. Molds follow asexual spore formation for reproduction, and these spores are called conidia. Molds have thousands of species that may or may not be toxic to other living beings.

Molds follow heterotrophy, which means that they survive on organic matter. The hyphal tips of molds secrete hydrolytic enzymes which can degrade biopolymers like starch, lignin, cellulose, and other complex substances. The decomposition property of molds helps nutrients recycle within the ecosystem.

Molds can be commonly found causing food spoilage. This biodegradation characteristic of molds has paved a significant role in biotechnology, food science, antibiotics, pharmaceutical, and beverage industry. The discovery of Penicillin serves as a benchmark of molds in the pharmaceutical industry. Some molds are also toxic, called mycotoxins, and can cause numerous diseases.

Molds can remain alive in a dormant stage under extreme conditions. Molds can grow in household areas that are damp, porous, receives no sunlight and ventilation. Interior mold colonization can cause severe health problems. Molds have also been incorporated in art and culture exhibitions like the macro-micro portrait created by Stacy Levy.

What is Yeast?

Yeasts are eukaryotic unicellular microorganisms and a type of fungal species. Yeast had over 1500 species. It undergoes budding or fission as the mode of reproduction. These buds are termed pseudohyphae. Yeasts are called chemoorganotrophs, that is they depend on organic compounds for growth and survival.

Yeast plays a crucial part in the fermentation, baking, and beverage production industry. Yeast has been a creator of bread, wine, and beer in history. Yeast can also generate electricity through microbial fuel cells. They play a significant role in the biofuel industry by producing ethanol. Some yeast is toxic and can cause various infections in living beings.

Yeast can grow in a neutral and slightly acidic pH environment. The yeast cells are usually elongated and circular or ovoid-shaped. Yeast is found on the human skin and guts of several mammals and insects. Yeast also has strains called yeast killer toxins which help treat other yeast infections.

Apart from the beverage and baking industry, yeast has a pivotal role in the preparation of probiotic supplements, generation of carbon dioxide in an aquarium, as food additives and flavors, in preparation of several non-alcoholic beverages, bioremediation, and in the preparation of various vaccines.

Main Differences Between Molds and Yeast

  1. Molds are multicellular microorganisms that reproduce by spore formation while yeast is unicellular microorganisms that reproduce by bud formation or fission.
  2. Molds are colorful and form a filamentous structure called hyphae and the entire network is called mycelium while yeast is mostly colorless, has pseudohyphae, and lives in colonies.
  3. Molds can produce enzymes that can break down biopolymers into simple substances while yeasts help in fermentation, baking, and beverage production by fermenting carbon-based products and release carbon dioxide.
  4. Molds are heterotrophs and are found in damp, dark places with little or no sunlight and ventilation while yeast is chemoorganotrophs and can survive on the skin of fruits, vegetables, and living beings with neutral or slightly acidic pH.
  5. Molds can cause various respiratory problems and allergic reactions while yeast can cause various infections in living beings and creatures.

Conclusion

Molds and yeast belongs to the kingdom of fungi. Both the fungal types have a mechanism of biodegradation under which they produce enzymes to convert or break down the complex organic compounds into simple substances with the expenditure of energy. In the laboratory, both molds and yeast can be counted and determined by the appropriate dilution factor.

However similar they may seem, they have contrasting differences like molds require humidity and dampness to survive while yeast can survive on the skin surface of living beings and outer surfaces of fruits and vegetables. Both the fungal types have had a huge impact on the food, pharmaceutical, and beverage industry.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/BF02050743.pdf
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/ja2016121
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