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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: How dangerous/toxic is moldy beverage?


 Pandagirl90 - Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:55 pm

My boss inadvertently drank a moldy beverage in the middle of the night after picking up the wrong cup. A beverage of some sort, perhaps coffee or Coca-cola sat while she was out of town for 4-5 weeks and in the dark, she inadvertently picked it up and drank it. She said that she probably drank 2 tablespoons of mold. This was 3 days ago & she has a very upset stomach. Will the mold pass through her system, making her sick and go away or will she have lingering problems? She's afraid that she will have mold spores left that will somehow attack her system.

Thanks so much for your help!
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:25 am

User avatar Hi,
Fungi are ubiquitous.
In fact, we live among a variety of fungi.

Fungi may be classified broadly into
- Yeasts (mainly existing as single cells) and
- Molds (fungi that are spore-forming).

Most molds are simply harmless fungi, including most black molds, which are often mistakenly dubbed as 'toxic'.
Toxic molds are a type of molds that produce hazardous substances,called mycotoxins. Mycotoxicoses are diseases caused by mycotoxins.
One black mold called Stachybotrys chartum (was alleged to cause serious breathing and bleeding problems) had been the focus of panic. However, the case remained unproven.

Although they occur more frequently in areas with a hot and humid climate, favorable for the growth of molds, they can also be found in temperate zones.

Exposure to mycotoxins is mostly by ingestion, but also occurs by the dermal and inhalation routes.
The respiratory route produces more severe responses than the digestive route.
Mycotoxins are natural contaminants of food and their complete elimination is perhaps impossible.

Growth of these molds depends on a number of factors.
- conditions that retard bacterial growth favour fungal growth
(refrigeration which retards bacterial growth, favours fungal growth).
- high 'water activity' is is usual (need for humidity).
- 'growth optimal' temperature is needed.
- optimal pH 4-6.

If we go by the statistical odds, your boss is unlikely to be adversely affected by swallowing the 'mouldy' drink.
Best of luck!

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