|MadSci Network: Botany|
Hey Derek, Thanks for the interesting question! As you indicated, the blue/green mold that is commonly found on bread (Penicillium) has no chlorophyll - nor do any of the other fungi (molds). The color produced by fungi is a function of a variety of chemicals produced either as waste, cellular metabolites, digestive agents (used to break down their food source such as plants or other types of materials) or even to create a toxic environment for other fungi (their equivelent of chemical warfare). These chemicals can produce a wide variety of colors, depending on the genus and species, ranging from very dark browns (looks like black to the naked eye) through the color spectrum of various shades of green, blue, red, orange, yellow, etc. (note: white molds are not really white but 'clear' or colorless). When these chemicals are deposited outside the cell they can also produce staining of the material they are growing on and in some cases have been used to produce dyes. Thanks for the interesting question and best of luck in school! Mike C.
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