Ph.D. Research Practices for Published Research: All analysis is performed in accordance with Ph.D. level of research that is performed when producing peer reviewed journal articles. This standard requires a completely different level of skill from standard certifications, which are oriented to ensuring consistent quality from lab technicians.
What difference does MouldWorks analysis make to the customer?
Enabling the customer to make decisions from the information provided:
- When tape lift or bulk samples are taken, MouldWorks enables the customers to understand what is going on at each sample site, what species are there, what their relative abundance is, what are the health related issues associated with those that have significant presence, and whether they are actively growing.
- When viable air samples (airborne mold spores that are very near the site) are taken, MouldWorks often identifies them to the species level once they grow out. This determines what is probably growing in the hidden site. Viable air samples are taken when it is not possible to take tape lift or bulk samples.
- When air quality samples (total spores in the air) are taken, the customer wants to understand how the air quality is impacted by possible mold. MouldWorks tells the customer the percentage of the total sample that is associated with each genus of mold. This is different from projecting a number of spores for each genus, which is the common form of information provided. Such a number is considered scientifically questionable by MouldWorks with little practical value for the customer.
Standing Behind our Work and Turnaround Time
- World known expert standing behind every analysis: The credentials behind every analysis includes years of experience in the field and world recognized research in micro-fungi. We welcome any inquiry into our identifications and analyses, and would provide our archived samples for anyone seeking a second opinion.
- Turnaround time: Preferred customers? tape lift and bulk samples are often processed the same day of receipt or no later than the next day and the reports generated immediately via the internet. This reports are based on microscopic analysis. If cultures are needed for further identification, a second report occurs after the cultures grow out (between 4 and 7 days). Viable air samples require 2-4 days to culture. Normal turnaround time on non-viable air samples is 3-5 days.
- Archive every tape lift sample for 3 years: MouldWorks archives every tape lift for 3 years, and for bulk samples takes a tape lift and archives that as well for 3 years.
Information Considered Limited in Usefulness
- Counting CFUs (colony forming units): Cultures are taken from tape lift, swab or bulk samples and CFUs counted: This number is intended by other labs to quantify the proportion of each type of mold (almost always at the genus level not species level). There is often a lot of variation in the mix of species across the entire tape lift or bulk sample. If the CFU number is generated from one location in the sample, it can be very inaccurate. Numerous cultures would have to be made from different sites in the sample to produce a relatively accurate picture of CFUs.
- Counting spores in non-viable air samples: Projecting numbers from a small sample of spores gives the impression of scientific precision. If these numbers are not generated from at least 3 air samples at each location, they is reason for concern for their reliability. The standard practice is to take 1 sample at each location. A more appropriate quantification is to provide the percentage of the sample plate for each type of spore.
- Swabs: If a tape lift can be taken where a swab is taken, the tape lift provides much more information about the site. Swabs only pick up spores from a portion of the site that are then cultured. Virtually all of the information the MouldWorks is able to generate about a tape lift or bulk sample is lost in this process. Furthermore, swabs cannot be archived.
Dr. George Carroll, Ph.D., one of the worlds most respected micro-fungi scientists, is the Chief Scientist for MouldWorks. Dr. Carroll has taught and performed breakthrough research in micro-fungi for over 35 years at the University of Oregon, has over 45 publications on mycology, and has edited 3 books on the subject. He has served as President of the Mycological Society of America. Dr. Carroll directly performs the identification and analysis work on every mould sample, or has Ph.D. staff perform the initial work, and reviews that work before it is submitted to our clients. View Resume (pdf).