ANSWER: There are 3 types of mold samples that can be performed; indoor and outdoor air testing, contact (swab, bulk or tape), and carpet testing. A thorough and complete evaluation will usually involve all 3 types of samples.
There are two categories of mold samples taken. These include viable (field collected and lab cultured [grown]) and, non-viable (field collected with laboratory microscopy identification). These categories are often used in conjunction to create a profile of airborne microbe concentrations. Viable sampling (contact) captures spores that may not show up well on spore traps, and may provide insight into which molds are actively growing (and therefore producing more viable spores). Non viable samples (spore traps from air samples and carpet samples) capture spore types indiscriminately, including those that do not grow well, or at all, in culture, and those that are no longer viable, but may still be allergenic.