Difference Between Molds and Yeasts

Molds vs Yeasts

As both mold and yeast are fungi that can be found almost everywhere and as some fungi could be hazardous to health, knowing the difference between molds and yeasts can be useful. Molds and yeasts are both eukaryotic fungi. Though some fungi are parasitic, not all of them are bad, some molds and yeasts are helpful to human. These microorganisms, as small as they are, help humans in their daily lives such as in the preparation of food as well as in various medications. Another service to human that some fungi give is the decomposition of organic bodies to maintain the ecosystem. However, it is good to have a clear understanding on mold and yeast so as to be safe from the health hazardous organisms.  Therefore, let us have a look at what they are and how to identify the difference between molds and yeasts.

What are Molds?

Molds are multicellular microorganisms that grow in a form called hyphae. They reproduce through spores asexually and sometimes, sexually as well. A network of these molds, the hyphae forming tubular branches, contains the same genetic information and is considered as a single organism. In the food, molds can be observed to have a fuzzy appearance causing discoloration. They cause biodegradation of natural materials while playing an important part in biotechnology. While molds can be a health hazard, as spore inhalation can potentially cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems, there are cultured molds that help with food production. Also, molds are used in medicine preparation such as antibiotics.


What are Yeasts?

Yeasts are single cell fungi that reproduce asexually or through binary fusion with over 1500 species described so far. They are commonly found in the ocean and are used popularly in food and beverage preparation. Yeasts are used in the production of beer and other alcoholic beverages such as Japanese sake; this is done by the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which converts carbohydrates to carbon dioxide and alcohol. The most common use of yeast, however, would be for bread as a leavening agent. There is, however, some yeasts that are pathogenic, but they only affect people with compromised immune systems.

Difference Between Molds and Yeasts

What is the difference between Molds and Yeasts?

Molds are multicellular microorganisms with some being colorful. They are harmful when consumed and cause a myriad of health issues such as allergic reactions and respiratory problems. Yeasts are single cellular, colorless. microorganisms. While typically harmless, they still spoil food, usually those with low pH levels and those with high sugar content, and could cause harm to people with weak immune systems. 


Molds vs Yeasts

• Yeasts are single cellular while molds are multicellular microorganisms.

• Yeasts are colorless fungi while some molds are colorful.

• Yeasts reproduce asexually while molds can reproduce asexually or sexually and spread through spores. 

• Yeasts are mostly harmless and helpful in the preparation of food and some beverages. However, there are yeasts that affect immune-compromised people.

•  Molds are harmful to our health in large quantities and it is best to keep them in check. There are some molds, however, that help in preparation of certain medicines such as Penicillin.


Photos By: Creative Tools (CC BY 2.0), Jarkko Laine (CC BY 2.0)

Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Yeast and Fungi
  2. Difference Between Bacteria and Yeast
  3. Difference Between Mold and Mildew