We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Aspergillus?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Aspergillus is a fungal genus which contains a known 20 species. These fungi manifest as molds, and they are very common in the natural environment. In fact, Aspergillus is so common that it is highly probable that you are breathing some spores in at this very moment. These fungi are of medical interest because several species are pathogenic, causing diseases in humans and animals. Disease caused by an infection with Aspergillus is known as aspergillosis. These fungi have been described since the 1700s.

These fungi form colonies in a wide range of colors, depending on the individual species. Some species grow very rapidly, while others are designed to conserve energy, and they may grow slowly, but steadily. Aspergillus species are aerobic, meaning that they need oxygen to survive, and they tend to prefer oxygen-rich environments. They grow on a variety of substrates, from the walls of homes to the leaves of plants.

Some Aspergillus species colonize food, causing spoilage. Others are relatively benign, unless they happen to land in the body of someone who has a vulnerable immune system. Other people are usually able to resist infection as long as they are generally healthy. One of the most common forms of aspergillosis is a lung infection; birds in particular are vulnerable, as are young children and people with existing lung conditions such as asthma. The fungi can colonize the respiratory tract, causing coughing and severe discomfort. Antifungal medications can be used to treat lung infections caused by Aspergillus species, along with supportive therapy to keep the patient's airway clear.

In people with compromised immune systems, it is possible to develop invasive aspergillosis, in which the fungi spread throughout the body. Several antifungal drugs can be used to treat this form of the infection, although invasive aspergillosis can overwhelm a patient's body if he or she is very sick. Cancer patients and people with AIDS are especially at risk of developing this form of aspergillosis, among many other opportunistic infections.

These fungi aren't all bad. A. oryzae is a species used in the fermentation of some traditional foods such as sake, and A. niger may not be a welcome guest when it colonizes the walls of a home, but it can be used to produce a number of medically useful compounds. With the discovery of additional species, scientists will undoubtedly discover more members of the Aspergillus genus with practical and beneficial uses.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All The Science researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon993705 — On Dec 08, 2015

I was diagnosed with it as a nail infection in nails on several toes and OTC products or RX for bail infections do not work to kill it. I either have to remove the nail or use cream every night indefinitely.

By anon958614 — On Jun 28, 2014

Aspergillus is the source of a variety of digestive enzymes that are used commercially in products to facilitate the digestion of proteins. And these enzymes have the added benefit of reducing post-surgical inflammation.

By candyquilt — On Oct 15, 2011

@burcidi-- I don't know if it's the same for everyone, but my brother had symptoms of short breath and a swollen throat. He complained of difficulty breathing and that it felt like his stomach and chest area was swollen.

He was diagnosed with aspergillosis after a blood test and chest x-ray.

By ddljohn — On Oct 15, 2011

@burcidi-- I know what you're going through, I had the same problem several years ago. Mold fungi can be very difficult to get rid of, especially when the temperature and moisture levels are perfect for it.

If possible, try to turn off any heat in the basement and don't use it for a while. Aspergillus also likes to grow in the foam in mattresses and couches. So you might have to get your furniture, beds, carpets out of the basement to treat it and kill the mold.

At one point I was even suspecting my plants. I heard that aspergillus can grow in the soil of house plants, especially if it's in a warm spot.

I think you should make a checklist of everything in the house or basement that aspergillus might be growing in and take some action to kill it. Taking away the heat and moisture should be the first step.

By burcidi — On Oct 14, 2011

How do we know if we have an aspergillus infection or not?

I'm allergic to mold and have been trying to rid my basement of mold for a long time. It's tough! They're very stubborn and meanwhile my allergies seem to be getting worse. I cough constantly when I go near the basement and sometimes even when I'm upstairs.

We haven't confirmed which species the mold is yet but it might be aspergillus. I'm very frightened to hear about the health problems it could cause. I'm on allergy medication right now and just had a doctor visit recently. I don't think I have an infection but what are some symptoms I should watch out for in case it happens?

I already cough due to allergies, so it would be hard for me to know if that's a symptom or not.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.