Sundried tomatoes infected with the Zygomycete fungus, Rhizopus stolonifer. The picture shows sundried tomatoes that were left uncovered in a domestic refrigerator for two weeks. The tomato pieces are embedded within a mass of fungal growth, consisting of fine filaments called sporangiophores, that terminate in a spherical structure (grey to black), the sporangium. The sporangia are at first white, turning black as they mature. Each contains thousands of asexual spores which are released into the air to produce new colonies.Rhizopus species are widespread food spoilage organisms. R. stolonifer infects many fruits and is commonly known as bread mould. Exposed food can easily become infected during storage, even if refrigerated. Rhizopus species are used commercially in the production of food products (tempeh), alcoholic beverages such as saki, and medical products (cortisone).
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