Abundant worldwide, most fungi are inconspicuous because of the small size of their structures, and their cryptic lifestyles in soil, on dead matter, and as symbionts of plants, animals, or other fungi. They may become noticeable in their fruiting or reproductive phase, when the hyphae become conspicuous. They are unable to manufacture their own food because of the absence of chlorophyll. Therefore all fungi are heterotrophic with absorptive type of nutrition. They are either parasites or saprotrophs. Saprotrophs obtain their food from organic remains and therefore function as decomposers of organic remains. Parasites cause diseases in economically important plants as well as in animals including humans. Branch of biology dealing with fungal diseases and disease causing fungi is known as fungal pathology. The disease caused by fungi in man and animal is known as mycoses. It is rightly said that rarely a day passes when we are not affected either directly or indirectly by these organisms.
The biggest group of organisms that can utilize keratin as the sole source of carbon and nitrogen are the keratinophilic fungi. The word keratinophilic means ‘keratin loving’, and is sometimes misleading in the sense that all fungi that can grow on hair (a common natural keratin substrate)... [continues]
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