23 Differences between Molds and Yeasts(With Table)

Both Yeasts and molds belong to the kingdom fungi. Organisms in the fungi kingdom are either unicellular or multicellular eukaryotes. 

These organisms survive as saprophytes by decomposing organic matter and absorbing nutrients from their cell walls. These living things are visible to the naked eyes under a colony. 

So, what is the difference between molds and yeasts? The former is a multicellular filament of fungi whereas the latter is a unicellular type of fungi. Besides that, molds reproduce by either asexual or sexual and yeasts by budding. 

Keep in mind that all organisms that belong to kingdom fungi are eukaryotes. These organisms have cell nuclei and membrane-bound organelles. 

This article provides a comprehensive insight into the differences between molds and yeasts. Remember to find out more about the similarities and other hidden gems about these organisms. 

Comparison Table (Molds vs Yeasts)

Basic Terms




These are multicellular microorganisms that belong to the fungi kingdom.

These are unicellular microorganisms that belong to the fungi kingdom.

Type of Cell




Grow as multiple tubular branches.

Grows as large single cells.


Dark, damp, and humid areas.

Found on fruits, inside mammals’ stomachs, and on the skin.


Fuzzy appearance

White and thread-like.


Have microscopic filaments in form of hyphae.

Do not have true hyphae.


It is a sporing fungus.

Not a sporing fungus.


Have vibrant colors

Less vibrant in colors.

Incubation Period

Occurs when the temperature range between 25oC and 30oC.

When the temperature ranges from 20oC to 30oC.

Cultivation Duration

The growth rate is quite slow.

Grow within 26 to 36 hours.

Aerobic or Anaerobic

Aerobic condition.

Both aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

pH Range

Thrive mostly in acidity.

pH should range from 4.0 to 4.5


Through microscopic examination.

Physiological tests.


Either asexual or sexual


Asexual Spores

Sporangiospore and conidia.


Sexual Spores

Zygospores, Ascospores, and Basidiospores

No sexual spores.

Energy Production

Secrete hydrolytic enzymes that degrade biopolymers into simpler substances that can be absorbed.

Convert carbohydrates to alcohol and carbon dioxide in anaerobic through fermentation.

Health Risk

Results in allergic reactions and respiratory problems.

Compromise the immune system of a person.

Other Issues

Cause food spoilage and sanitation problems.

Results in fewer food spoilage issues.


Food processing and decomposition of organic materials.

Vitamin supplements, baking, and ethanol production.

Number of Species




No specific shape

Oval shape


Alternaria, Aspergillus, Fusarium, Mucor, Penicillium, etc

Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Cryptococcus neoformans, etc.

What Are Molds?

Molds are eukaryotic microbes that are multicellular and they reproduce either sexually or asexually.

Most molds grow on surfaces that are moist and dark areas. They are marked by airborne spores and filamentous hyphae.

Molds are used in the decomposition of organic matters and also in the development of antibiotic drugs such as penicillin, Lovastatin.

Besides that, molds can be used in the production of foods like cheese and beverages apart from antibiotic drugs.

What Is Yeast?

Yeast is eukaryotic single-cell microorganisms that have well-defined organelles and nuclei. They reproduce asexually by budding or binary fission.

Yeast does not have true hyphae but marked by filamentous structures and thread-like structures. Besides that, they are normally colorless in nature.

Yeast is commonly found in foods like bread, vegetables, and the skin of mammals among other places.

These microorganisms break down carbohydrates to produce energy and cause fermentation. It is quite easy to detect yeast growth on food due to the off-flavors.

Yeast tends to cause infections such as asthma among human beings and some of their examples are baking yeast and Cryptococcus neoformans.

Main Differences Between Molds and Yeast

  1. Molds are multicellular microorganisms while yeast is a single-cell microorganism. Both belong to the fungi kingdom.
  2. There are about 400,000 types of molds in a dark and damp area while 1500 types of yeast on fruits, vegetables, and mammal skin.
  3. Molds are colorfully marked with filamentous hyphae while yeast is colorless and smooth. Yeast tends to have pseudo-filamentous structures.
  4. Yeast is commercially used to make foods and beverages such as alcohol while molds for making antibiotic drugs.
  5. Molds cause allergic reactions and other respiratory problems while yeast causes infections that compromise the immunity of an individual.
  6. Examples of molds are Mucor, Penicillium, Rhizopus, and Aspergillus while examples of yeast are Baking yeast and Cryptococcus neoformans.
  7. Molds reproduce both sexually and asexually while yeast reproduces through binary fission or budding method.
  8. Molds are found in damp and dark areas whereas yeast is found on fruits, mammal skin, and inside the stomach.
  9. Molds are thread-like while yeasts have an oval shape 
  10. Molds have a fuzzy appearance while yeast have the white and thready appearance
  11. Molds have microscopic filaments whereas yeasts have no hyphae
  12. Mold is a sporing fungus while yeast is not a sporing fungi
  13. Yeast converts carbohydrates to alcohol during fermentation whereas molds secrete hydrolytic enzymes to external food sources and absorb nutrients.
  14. There are about 400,000 types of molds whereas 1500 types of yeasts.
  15. Molds are more virulent whereas yeasts are less virulent

Similarities Between Molds and Yeasts

  1. Both are types of fungi
  2. Both have chitin and glucose derivatives
  3. Both can decompose porous households
  4. Both undergo chemical reaction during germination
  5. Both require moisture for germination 
  6. Both are vulnerable to heat 
  7. Both require oxygen to grow
  8. Both causes allergic reaction 
  9. Both are eukaryotes
  10. Both have health hazards 
  11. Both are sporophytes 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Can You Kill Mold and Yeast?

Getting rid of molds and yeast is quite easy. Both yeast and molds are quite sensitive to heat. Therefore, exposing them to high heat will kill them automatically. Ensure the temperature is between 140-160°F. 

  • What Are the Growth Conditions for Mold and Yeast?

Molds grow in moist and dark areas while yeast can grow in any environment. 

  • Is Mold a Bacteria or Virus?

Virus. Mold produces viral allergens that cause respiratory health problems. But mold belongs to the Fungi Kingdom and bacteria are not. 

  • Does Mold Cause Viruses?

Yes. Mold produces bacteria and viruses that cause cold or food-borne diseases. Most of the allergens produced by molds cause respiratory problems. 

  • Which Kingdom Do Mold and Yeast Belong?

Molds and Yeast belong to the Fungi Kingdom

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Both molds and yeast belonging to the same kingdom fungi. However, the differences listed above are what makes them stand apart.

To sum up, yeast occurs as a single cell and it is commonly known for making food and beverages. The mode of reproduction is through binary fission or budding method.

On the other hand, molds are multicellular and are commonly known for making antibiotic drugs. The mode of reproduction is both asexually and sexually.

More Sources and References

  1. Introduction to Mycology. NCBI

  2. Do Mold Spores Cause Lung Cancer? Havard Health Publishing

  3. Black Mold Spores and More. Healthline 

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