How to tell the difference between feathery roots and mould

Sometimes seeds get broken and go mouldy. You can just throw out the mouldy bits, rinse, and the rest will be OK. Sometimes the whole batch will have to be thrown away, but often, mould looks a lot like healthy, feathery roots. It’s important to know the difference between healthy roots and mould, otherwise you can end up throwing away perfectly good sprouts. So how to tell the difference between feathery roots and mould?

Thanks to Lucia Kostelnik of Gaia Sprouters for info. Please see our topic introduction for a general overview of sprouting and microgreens.

This is what healthy sprouts look like. Feather-like roots are slightly conical, wider on the seed side of the root and pointy on the other side, They are microscopic roots of the plant and will disappear after rinsing.

Broccoli sprouts

broccoli fuzzy


Buckwheat sprouts with shells

buckwheat in shell fuzzy


Radish sprouts

radish fuzzy


Sunflower sprouts in shell

sunflower fuzzy


Wheat sprouts (germinated wheat)

wheat grain fuzzy


And this is what mould looks like. It’s like cobwebs around clusters of seeds, usually surrounding broken or empty-shelled seeds. It mainly happens when using soil.

mustard bad fuzzy
shelled buckwheat bad fuzzy


Below are moulds grown on spoiled seeds when growing wheatgrass in soil (it’s not a big deal, as you crop the grass 2cm above the soil). The rule is – “Undamaged, organically grown seed has the ability to protect itself from turning bad during sprouting, if the correct growing balance is sustained.” To give sprouting seeds that natural balance we grow them in clay sprouters. See here.

wheatgrass mould

wheatgrass mould2

Log output: