Importance of Fungi

Topics: Fungus, Bacteria, Mold Pages: 4 (1038 words) Published: November 25, 2012
Importance of Fungi:
Fungi are eukaryotic organisms distinct from plants and animals and members of several other smaller kingdoms. Common fungi include mushrooms, conks, corals, jellies, puffballs, stinkhorns, morels, cups, truffles, lichens, yeasts, rusts, smuts, bread molds, mildews, and molds on bathroom tiles. In 1959, R. H. Whittaker introduced a five-kingdom taxonomy that granted fungi equal status with plants and animals. The five-kingdom system has been supplanted by a multiple-kingdom classification, and species traditionally treated as fungi are now distributed across several kingdoms. Those believed to form a monophyletic lineage are assigned to kingdom Eumycota (often called kingdom Fungi). Mycology, the science devoted to fungi, still covers all traditional fungi. Fungi are considered as one of the most prolific types of life on earth, which are found nearly everywhere around us. There are many different types of fungi some of which are very beneficial for mankind. It has immense economic applications and plays a major role in producing a number of products such as drugs, antibiotics penicillin, contraceptives, food, mushrooms, morels, cheeses, alcoholic beverages, and soybeans. Fungi have a profound biological and economic impact. As decomposers, plant pathogens, and symbiotic partners, their ability to grow anywhere, on anything, makes them both beneficial and harmful recyclers of carbon and nitrogen. Beneficially, they are used as food (mushrooms, truffles) and in baking and brewing (yeasts). They are being developed to detoxify pollutants (soil fungi), control insects (pathogenic Zygomycota), and regulate plant growth (pathogenic Ascomycota). Detrimentally, rusts, smuts, and molds cost billions of dollars through crop disease and spoilage while forest pathogens such as the honey mushroom ( Armillaria ostoyae ) and root-butt rot ( Heterobasidion annosum ) similarly threaten the timber industry. Some are toxic when eaten, such as the infamous...
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