By: Duane Craig
Residents in and around Louisville, Ky., have been dealing with a black material staining their siding, outdoor furniture, vehicles and anything else in the open air for as long as they can remember, according to this article.
But now, the culprit has been identified. It’s called Baudoinia, a naturally occurring fungus that is so hearty researchers haven’t found a single carbon source that it can’t use for nutritional needs. So far, there is no evidence the fungus is harmful to people and other living things, other than how it might reduce sunlight from reaching the photosynthesis layer in plant leaves. The biggest problem with it seems to be how it damages property, often destroying finishes on vehicles, buildings and other things outside.
Residents in Louisville were so tired of its effects that they sued local bourbon producers to recover damages caused by the fungus. Come to find out, the fungus multiplies in air that has concentrations of ethanol, and Louisville’s air has lots of that because it is the home to at least three major distillers. The distilling process releases ethanol at various stages. It only takes 1 ppm concentration of ethanol in air to support the growth of Baudoinia.
The lawyer handling many of the lawsuits says the distillers just need to stop off-gassing the ethanol. Distillers don’t really address that, instead saying they simply are not responsible for natural growth. More suits are going forward with one notable one in Scotland where the fungus is rampant.