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4.6: Importance of Fungi in Human Life - Biology

4.6: Importance of Fungi in Human Life - Biology


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Learning Objectives

  • Describe the importance of fungi to the balance of the environment.
  • Summarize the role of fungi in food and beverage preparation.
  • Describe the importance of fungi in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Discuss the role of fungi as model organisms.

Although we often think of fungi as organisms that cause disease and rot food, fungi are important to human life on many levels. As we have seen, they influence the well-being of human populations on a large scale because they are part of the nutrient cycles in ecosystems. They have other ecosystem roles as well. As animal pathogens, fungi help to control the population of damaging pests. These fungi are very specific to the insects they attack, and do not infect animals or plants. Fungi are currently under investigation as potential microbial insecticides, with several already on the market. For example, the fungus Beauveria bassiana is a pesticide being tested as a possible biological control agent for the recent spread of emerald ash borer. It has been released in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland (Figure (PageIndex{1})).

The mycorrhizal relationship between fungi and plant roots is essential for the productivity of farm land and healthy forests. Without the fungal partner in root systems, most plants would either not survive or have a diminished fitness. The transfer of nutrients and mediation of community structure in forests is increasingly attributed to the regulation of mycorrhizal fungi. Transmission of defense signals and other more nuanced communication between plants via their mycorrhizal partners is currently under investigation.

We also eat some types of fungi, whether we are aware of it or not. Mushrooms figure prominently in the human diet of some countries: morels, matsutake, porcini, chanterelles, and truffles are considered delicacies (Figure (PageIndex{2})). Molds of the genus Penicillium ripen many cheeses and cure meats. They originate in the natural environment such as the caves of Roquefort, France, where wheels of sheep milk cheese are stacked in order to capture the molds responsible for the blue veins and pungent taste of the cheese. Fermentation of Aspergillus is used to produce soy sauce, miso, and citric acid.

Fermentation—of grains to produce beer, and of fruits to produce wine—is an ancient art that humans in most cultures have practiced for millennia. Wild yeasts are acquired from the environment and used to ferment sugars into CO2 and ethyl alcohol under anaerobic conditions. It is now possible to purchase isolated strains of wild yeasts from different wine-making regions. Louis Pasteur was instrumental in developing a reliable strain of brewer’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, for the French brewing industry in the late 1850s. This was one of the first examples of biotechnology patenting.

Many secondary metabolites of fungi are of great commercial importance. Antibiotics are naturally produced by fungi to kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, limiting their competition in the natural environment. Important antibiotics, such as penicillin and the cephalosporins, are isolated from fungi. Valuable drugs isolated from fungi include the immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine (which reduces the risk of rejection after organ transplant), the precursors of steroid hormones, and ergot alkaloids used to stop bleeding. Psilocybin is a compound found in fungi such as Psilocybe cyanescens, which have been used for their hallucinogenic properties by various cultures for thousands of years. Psilocybin-producing fungi (though currently illegal to use in most states within America) are currently being investigated as treatment for conditions like depression, anxiety, and even migraines.

Fungi are important model research organisms for eukaryotic systems. Many advances in modern genetics were achieved by the use of the mold Neurospora crassa. Additionally, many important genes originally discovered in S. cerevisiae served as a starting point in discovering analogous human genes. As a eukaryotic organism, the yeast cell produces and modifies proteins in a manner similar to human cells, as opposed to the bacterium Escherichia coli, which lacks the internal membrane structures and enzymes to tag proteins for export. This makes yeast a much better organism for use in recombinant DNA technology experiments. Like bacteria, yeasts grow easily in culture, have a short generation time, and are amenable to genetic modification.

In addition to the cultural uses you might be more familiar with, fungi are being explored for their use in constructing biodegradable packaging, insulation, and even leather-like material for clothing. Pigments can be extracted from some fungi and lichens, which can then be used to make watercolors or dyes for fabrics (Figure (PageIndex{3})). Due to their amazing metabolic diversity, fungi are being used to remediate ecosystems contaminated with organic compounds and heavy metals.

Check out Video (PageIndex{1}) from Science Friday for some of the current innovations using mycelium.

Summary

Fungi are important to everyday human life. Fungi are important decomposers in most ecosystems. Mycorrhizal fungi are essential for the growth of most plants. Fungi, as food, play a role in human nutrition in the form of mushrooms, and also as agents of fermentation in the production of bread, cheeses, alcoholic beverages, and numerous other food preparations. Secondary metabolites of fungi are used as medicines, such as antibiotics and anticoagulants. Fungi are model organisms for the study of eukaryotic genetics and metabolism.


4.6: Importance of Fungi in Human Life - Biology

By the end of this section, you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe the importance of fungi to the balance of the environment
  • Summarize the role of fungi in agriculture and food and beverage preparation
  • Describe the importance of fungi in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries
  • Discuss the role of fungi as model organisms

Although we often think of fungi as organisms that cause disease and rot food, they are vitally important to human life on many levels. As we have seen, fungi influence the well-being of human populations on a large scale because they are part of the nutrient cycle in ecosystems. They have other ecosystem roles as well. As animal pathogens, fungi help to control the population of damaging pests. These fungi are very specific to the insects they attack, and do not infect animals or plants. Fungi are currently under investigation as potential microbial insecticides, with several already on the market. For example, the fungus Beauveria bassiana is being tested as a possible biological control agent for the recent spread of emerald ash borer a beetle that feeds on ash trees. It has been released in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland ((Figure)).

Figure 1. Fungal insect control. The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an insect that attacks ash trees. It is in turn parasitized by a pathogenic fungus (Beauveria bassiana) that holds promise as a biological insecticide. The parasitic fungus appears as white fuzz on the body of the insect. (credit: Houping Liu, USDA Agricultural Research Service)

The mycorrhizal relationship between fungi and plant roots is essential for the productivity of farm land. Without the fungal partner in root systems, 80–90 percent of trees and grasses would not survive. Mycorrhizal fungal inoculants are available as soil amendments from gardening supply stores and are promoted by supporters of organic agriculture.

We also eat some types of fungi. Mushrooms figure prominently in the human diet. Morels, shiitake mushrooms, chanterelles, and truffles are considered delicacies ((Figure)). The humble meadow mushroom, Agaricus campestris, appears in many dishes. Molds of the genus Penicillium ripen many cheeses. They originate in the natural environment such as the caves of Roquefort, France, where wheels of sheep milk cheese are stacked in order to capture the molds responsible for the blue veins and pungent taste of the cheese.

Figure 2. Edible fungi. The morel mushroom (a) is an ascomycete greatly appreciated for its delicate taste. (credit: Jason Hollinger). Basidiocarps of Agaricus ready for an omelet (credit: Mary Anne Clark)

Fermentation—of grains to produce beer, and of fruits to produce wine—is an ancient art that humans in most cultures have practiced for millennia. Wild yeasts are acquired from the environment and used to ferment sugars into CO2 and ethyl alcohol under anaerobic conditions. It is now possible to purchase isolated strains of wild yeasts from different wine-making regions. Louis Pasteur was instrumental in developing a reliable strain of brewer’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, for the French brewing industry in the late 1850s. This was one of the first examples of biotechnology patenting.

Many secondary metabolites of fungi are of great commercial importance. Antibiotics are naturally produced by fungi to kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, limiting their competition in the natural environment. Important antibiotics, such as penicillin and the cephalosporins, are isolated from fungi. Valuable drugs isolated from fungi include the immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine (which reduces the risk of rejection after organ transplant), the precursors of steroid hormones, and ergot alkaloids used to stop bleeding. Psilocybin is a compound found in fungi such as Psilocybe semilanceata and Gymnopilus junonius, which have been used for their hallucinogenic properties by various cultures for thousands of years.

As simple eukaryotic organisms, fungi are important model research organisms. Many advances in modern genetics were achieved by the use of the red bread mold Neurospora crassa. Additionally, many important genes originally discovered in S. cerevisiae served as a starting point in discovering analogous human genes. As a eukaryotic organism, the yeast cell produces and modifies proteins in a manner similar to human cells, as opposed to the bacterium Escherichia coli, which lacks the internal membrane structures and enzymes to tag proteins for export. This makes yeast a much better organism for use in recombinant DNA technology experiments. Like bacteria, yeasts grow easily in culture, have a short generation time, and are amenable to genetic modification.

Section Summary

Fungi are important to everyday human life. Fungi are important decomposers in most ecosystems. Mycorrhizal fungi are essential for the growth of most plants. Fungi, as food, play a role in human nutrition in the form of mushrooms, and also as agents of fermentation in the production of bread, cheeses, alcoholic beverages, and numerous other food preparations. Secondary metabolites of fungi are used as medicines, such as antibiotics and anticoagulants. Fungi are model organisms for the study of eukaryotic genetics and metabolism.

Review Questions

Yeast is a facultative anaerobe. This means that alcohol fermentation takes place only if:


Importance of Microbiology:

1 .Importance of Microbiology in Food Industry:

Microorganisms involved in food microbiology include bacteria molds and yeasts. Bacteria mainly cause food intoxication and food spoilage thereby causing various human gut health diseases.

Several bacterial strains are used to produce a wide range of food and dairy products. These bacterial strains include Streptococcus thermophiles, Bifidobacterium sp, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus.

Lactic acid bacteria help in producing yogurt cheese, hot sauce, pickles, fermented sausages, and kimchi.

Molds are used to manufacture various food and food products. They help in ripening several types of food. Molds also help in producing enzymes and citric acid used in making bread and soft drinks respectively.

Yeasts are used in the food industry as they ferment sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide.

A yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used to make bread, brew beer, and make wine.

Nisin is an antimicrobial agent derived from bacteria. It is used in cheese, meats, and beverages to preserve them by inhibiting the growth of detrimental microorganisms.

Further Reading:

2. Importance of Microbiology in Medical Science.

Microorganisms can cause both benefit and harm to our human and animal cells. These microorganisms include virus, bacteria, fungus, and parasites. Medical Microbiology is important for several reasons.

Through the knowledge of medical microbiology, microbiologists can identify, isolate, diagnose, prevent pathogenic microorganisms. They also can engineer beneficial microorganisms to produce antimicrobial drugs.

The knowledge of microbiology helps microbiologists to innovate new methods to combat diseases.

Fluorescent fusion is a good example of medical microbiology, that helps in the rapid detection of pathogens in the tissue sample.

3. Importance of Microbiology in the pharmaceutical industry.

The discovery of antibiotics is one of the most important contributions of microbiology in the pharmaceutical industry. Antibiotics are the metabolic byproduct of microorganisms. The vaccine is also another important discovery of microbiology. The vaccine helps thousands of people by producing antibodies against the virus. Thus it prevents viral infection. For example, the Polio vaccine helps eradicate polio in many countries.

Phage therapy has also attracted great attention due to its killing potential against bacteria.

Steroids are also another pharmaceutical product produced by microorganisms. Prevention of microbial contamination of drugs, injectable, eye drops, nasal solutions, and inhalation products are also another important discoveries of microbiology.

One of the great examples of medical microbiology is the discovery of Insulin. Insulin is used for the treatment of diabetic patients. Insulin was derived from the β cell of pancreases. But it was not sufficient to satisfy the massive-demand for insulin. Recombinant DNA technology uses E. coli to produce a higher amount of insulin to control sugar concentration in diabetes patients.

4. Importance of Microbiology in nursing

The knowledge of microbiology in nursing is very important to control and prevent infection in the hospital. The knowledge of microbiology for the nurses and other health professionals in healthcare is very important because it gives them much information about health and hygiene.

Through the knowledge of microbiology, the nurses and other health professionals in healthcare can learn, how infections spread and how to carefully cure or surgery an open wound without infecting it.

The knowledge of microbiology teaches them to keep the instruments aseptic and contaminant-free. It helps them find and identify the symptoms of an infection and type of infection at its early stage.

It also teaches them the nature of the organism and the factors affecting its growth, the most susceptible means of disease transmission and the composition of chemicals, drugs, aseptic solutions, etc.

5. Importance of Microbiology in Biotechnology

Microorganisms are used in various fields of biotechnology. In the fermentation industry, microbes are used to produce ethanol, organic acids, vinegar, and fermented foods by degrading complex organic matters.

Microbes (e. g. virus) are used as a source of molecular vectors such as a plasmid, phagemid, and cosmid in molecular biology and recombinant DNA technology.

Microbes are used in bioremediation that removes organic compounds and hydrocarbon from sewage water by degrading these organic wastes.

By using microorganisms, microbiologists extract metals or heavy metals from their ore through a process called bioleaching and biomining.

Microorganisms also produce enzymes, vitamins, organic acids, antibiotics, amino acids, and polysaccharides as their metabolic products for industrial purposes.

6. Importance of Microbiology in Chemical products

Several industrial chemical products are produced through the use of microorganisms.

These products include acetaldehyde, acetic acid, acetoacetic acid, butanol, ethanol, fructose, galactose, glycerol, lactic acid, mannitol, mannose, pyruvic acid, sorbose, succinic acid.

The microorganism that produces these products include Acetic acid bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, propionic acid bacteria, butyric acid bacteria, E. coli, Aerobacter aerogenes.

7. Importance of Microbiology in fuel:

Biofuel can be obtained from extracted microalgae oil, biomethane by anaerobic digestion of

Microalgae biomass, ethanol by fermentation of carbohydrate.

Microalgae are a potential source of oil content for biodiesel production. They also contain a higher amount of lipids that serve as raw material for biodiesel production.

Butanol and ethanol

Microalgae contain a large amount of cellulose, starch, mannitol, agar and laminarin that are fermented to alcohol (ethanol and butanol). This microalga includes Chlorella, Chlamydomonas, Dunaliella, Scenedesmus, and Spirulina.

8. Importance of Microbiology in aquaculture/fisheries:

Heterotrophic microorganisms play an important role in decomposing organic matter and cycling of nutrients in aquatic systems. In the aquatic system, microbes are placed at the bottom of the food chain.

Microorganisms also play various important roles in aquaculture as they grow naturally in the aquatic environment.

  1. Protect fish and larvae from various microbial infections.
  2. Improve the overall quality of water.
  3. Control the development of microbial and insect-infected diseases.
  4. Suppress the growth of harmful bacteria and enhance larval survival, minimizing the need to apply antibiotics.

9. Importance of Microbiology in Agriculture:

Microorganisms help in decomposing toxic compounds in agricultural soil preventing toxic accumulation in the soil. Thus it helps in increasing the fertility of the soil.

Microorganisms (e.g. Blue-green algae) play an important role in nitrogen fixation.

Fungi like Mycorrhiza help the plant absorb minerals and water from the soil and protect its roots from other fungi and nematodes.

Actinomycetes (Nocardia and Monospora) and Molds (Mucor and Aspergillus) increase the fertility of the soil by decomposing its organic matter.

Further Reading:

Other soil bacteria help in nitrification, nitrification, mineralization and sulfur oxidation, etc.

Soil bacteria produce Humus that helps in retaining soil moisture and enhances the formation of soil structure.

Soil bacteria support plant growth by producing several substances like auxins, gibberellins, and antibiotics.

Soil bacteria also help in controlling pest and microbial disease. A best-known soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis have the ability to control caterpillar pests of plants.

10. Importance of Microbiology in Environmental Science/ Sewage System:

Environmental Microbiology is the study of microorganisms that lives in air, soil, water. Microorganisms degrade toxic pollutants from the environment. For example, Acinetobacter can degrade a wide range of aromatic compounds.

Bacteria help us clean water through sewage treatment. Bacteria degrade the organic matter in sewage removing the pollution from water.

Nitrification and phosphorous removal are occurred by bacteria in the sewage system. In this system, Nitrosomonas spp oxidize ammonium to nitrite and Nitrobacter spp oxidize nitrite to nitrate. Denitrifying bacteria (Pseudomonas) reduce nitrate into nitrogen gas using the chemical energy in organic matter to reduce.


Fungi Roles in Ecosystems

The roles of fungi are broad and include many diverse functions.

Decomposition

Because fungi feed on dead organic matter, they are obvious excellent players in natural organic decomposition across ecosystems. Given that fungi are able to live in dark, moist environments, they are often the largest players in the biomass of many diverse ecosystems. Fungi digest food externally, so the organic materials they are able to decompose metabolize into nutrients such as nitrates, sugars and phosphates. These nutrients are vital to plants and other foliage and without fungi these nutrients would be sparse. Fungi is able to transfer these valuable nutrients into the ground providing energy and nutrients to plant roots. As an example, nitrogen is vital to plants as it is a part of the chlorophyll molecule as well as a major part of amino acids that help build proteins needed for plants to grow. Through metabolized proteins, fungi are able to provide nitrate to plants and foliage. This is especially important in aquatic environments, where fungi are able to break down leaves and wood in the water. Fungi are able to break down even the toughest organic materials including cellulose and lignin, two materials invertebrates are unable to decompound. Without fungi, very little debris in forests and other ecosystems would never decompose.

Food Source

Fungi are not just a food source for our stir fries, but are significant food sources to organisms big and small, with many animals relying heavily on fungi as their main source of food. The caribou relies heavily on lichen, a fungus that has a symbiotic relationship with algae or cyanobacterium in the winter when there is very little other greens available.

The long nosed potoroo, an Australian marsupial that falls somewhere between a kangaroo and a rat depends on fungi exclusively as it's food source, while insects and invertebrates also depend heavily on fungus. Fungi is also a coveted food source for humans. Many edible varieties are included in food around the world with diverse and unusual varieties of mushrooms are added to culinary creations for distinction and variety. Enoki, oyster, porcini, maitake, chanterelles are among some of the more diverse fungal offerings, while the matsutake mushroom in Japan is the world's most expensive edible mushroom retailing at $1,000USD per pound.

Medicine

Probably the most famous application of fungi is the revolutionary medical discovery of penicillin. Penicillin was discovered in 1929 by a Scottish scientist and botanist Sir Alexander Fleming when he discovered that black bread mould was able to release antimicrobial properties. You can almost see a lab technician eating a sandwich over petri trays contain staphylococcus, and days later the small spots in the petri dish where the bread crumbs would have been afflicted with mould clean and clear. Penicillin is derived from a Penicillium, a prevalent fungus that since it's application in medicine has changed the way clinicians treat disease in both human and animal populations. Since the 1930's, the modern world have utilized fungi across a wide range of antibiotics.


Mushrooms are also important ingredients in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and myriad therapeutic activities have been attributed to them, including anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and even anti-tumor effects.

Valuable drugs isolated from fungi include the immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine (which reduces the risk of rejection after an organ transplant), the precursors of steroid hormones, and ergot alkaloids used to stop bleeding. Psilocybin is a compound found in fungi such as Psilocybe semilanceata and Gymnopilus junonius, which have been used for their hallucinogenic properties by various cultures for thousands of years.

Biocontrol

Fungus have also been used as natural pest control for crops globally including potato beetles, spittlebugs and rust mites.

Fungi such as the Chinese caterpillar fungus, which parasitize insects, can be extremely useful for controlling insect pests of crops. The spores of the fungi are sprayed on the crop pests. Fungi have been used to control Colorado potato beetles, which can devastate potato crops. Spittlebugs, leaf hoppers and citrus rust mites are some of the other insect pests which have been controlled using fungi. This method is generally cheaper and less damaging to the environment than using chemical pesticides.


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4.6: Importance of Fungi in Human Life - Biology

  • Recycling
    Fungi, together with bacteria, are responsible for most of the recycling which returns dead material to the soil in a form in which it can be reused. Without fungi, these recycling activities would be seriously reduced. We would effectively be lost under piles many metres thick, of dead plant and animal remains.
  • Mycorrhizae and plant growth
    Fungi are vitally important for the good growth of most plants, including crops, through the development of mycorrhizal associations. As plants are at the base of most food chains, if their growth was limited, all animal life, including human, would be seriously reduced through starvation.

    Medicines
    Penicillin, perhaps the most famous of all antibiotic drugs, is derived from a common fungus called Penicillium. Many other fungi also produce antibiotic substances, which are now widely used to control diseases in human and animal populations. The discovery of antibiotics revolutionized health care worldwide.

Some fungi which parasitise caterpillars have also been traditionally used as medicines. The Chinese have used a particular caterpillar fungus as a tonic for hundreds of years. Certain chemical compounds isolated from the fungus may prove to be useful treatments for certain types of cancer.

  • Biocontrol
    Fungi such as the Chinese caterpillar fungus, which parasitise insects, can be extremely useful for controlling insect pests of crops. The spores of the fungi are sprayed on the crop pests. Fungi have been used to control Colorado potato beetles, which can devastate potato crops. Spittlebugs, leaf hoppers and citrus rust mites are some of the other insect pests which have been controlled using fungi. This method is generally cheaper and less damaging to the environment than using chemical pesticides.
  • Crop Diseases
    Fungal parasites may be useful in biocontrol, but they can also have enormous negative consequences for crop production. Some fungi are parasites of plants. Most of our common crop plants are susceptible to fungal attack of one kind or another. Spore production and dispersal is enormously efficient in fungi and plants of the same species crowded together in fields are ripe for attack. Fungal diseases can on occasion result in the loss of entire crops if they are not treated with antifungal agents.
  • Animal Disease
    Fungi can also parasitise domestic animals causing diseases, but this is not usually a major economic problem. A wide range of fungi also live on and in humans, but most coexist harmlessly. Athletes foot and Candida infections are examples of human fungal infections.
  • Food Spoilage
    It has already been noted that fungi play a major role in recycling organic material. The fungi which make our bread and jam go mouldy are only recycling organic matter, even though in this case, we would prefer that it didn't happen! Fungal damage can be responsible for large losses of stored food, particularly food which contains any moisture. Dry grains can usually be stored successfully, but the minute they become damp, moulds are likely to render them inedible. This is obviously a problem where large quantities of food are being produced seasonally and then require storage until they are needed.

Humans and Fungi

Our intracellular structure and the way we obtain energy.

Explanation:

There are many differences and many similarities between fungi and humans. In basic biology, however, we can state two major facts that the both have in common when compared to other groups of living beings. The fisrt one is our intracellular structure: fungi and humans present eukaryotic cells (such as plants and protozoa), which, unlike bacteria, have a membrane protecting its nuclei. Another difference is the way we obtain our energy: both humans and fungi are heterotrophic (unlike plants, algae and some bacteria and protozoa). This means we generate energy by consuming elements in the ecossystems, or simply by feeding on other organisms, instead of producing our own food like plants do.

Fungi are helpful to us in the products they produce but may also be harmful for the diseases they cause.

Helpful fungi may be edible

  • Portabella mushrooms
  • Button cap mushrooms
  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Where I live, people search for sponge fungi or morels

Helpful fungi may produce products we can use

  • Yeast makes our bread rise
  • Fermentation creates beers, wines, other alcoholic beverages and ethanol as a gasoline additive
  • Soy sauce
  • Some of the stinky cheeses people enjoy

Fungi are harmful as they cause disease

  • Rusts and smuts on farm crops and orchards
  • Athletes foot
  • Oral thrush
  • Yeast infections

Last, one of fungi's most important roles, they are decomposers in the environment. Returning nutrients to the soil that were bound up in an organisms tissues. the circle of life


What Is the Economic Importance of Fungi?

Fungi have several positive economic effects, such as consuming biodegradable waste, improving soil, acting as symbiotic organisms for various crops, generating antibiotics and other medicines, and being a food source. They also have several negative effects, including causing diseases in humans and animals and blighting crops and other plants, Fungi are an important category of life, both to human economies and to the other forms of life on the planet.

Fungi are ubiquitous, both in nature and in most human structures as well. They are a major decomposer and are thus responsible for rendering dead organic matter into usable forms for other organisms. They are also frequently harmful to humans, whether by destroying stored food, causing diseases such as athlete's foot, damaging structures or killing crops. On the other hand, fungi are not only used as food themselves but help process some alcohols, cheeses and baking.

Fungi can be either unicellular like yeasts or multicellular like edible mushrooms. Multicellular fungi have very diverse habits, but all share a similar basic structure. Their bodies are composed of tiny threads known as hyphae. These threads burrow through organic material and absorb nutrients. A large mat of hyphae is known as a mycelium.


Volume 4 - 2013 - Index

22. Fungi on decaying leaves of Magnolia liliifera and Cinnamomum iners show litter fungi to be hyperdiverse
Monkai J, Promputtha I, Kodsueb R, Chukeatirote E, McKenzie EHC, Hyde KD
Mycosphere 4(2), 292–301, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/2/12

24. Cuboid spored Entoloma in Kerala State, India
Pradeep CK, Shibu P. Varghese, Vrinda KB, Baroni TJ
Mycosphere 4(2), 333–344, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/2/14

26. Smut fungi of Iran
Vánky K, Abbasi M
Mycosphere 4(3), 363–454, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/3/2

30. Five supposedly well-known species of Leptogium section Mallotium
Kitaura MJ, Marcelli MP, Jungbluth P, Hora BR
Mycosphere 4(3), 520–530, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/3/6

31. Myxomycete records from Eagle Hill in Maine
Zoll V, Stephenson SL
Mycosphere 4(3), 520–527, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/3/7

39. Fungal communities of symptomless barks of tropical trees
Murali TS, Thirunavukkarasu N, Govindarajulu MB, Suryanarayanan TS
Mycosphere 4(3), 635–645, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/3/15

45. The first checklists of macrofungi of mount Cameroon
Kinge TR, Egbe EA, Tabi EM, Nji TM, Mih AM
Mycosphere 4(4), 694–699, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/4/5

50. In-vitro evaluation of some Indian lichens against human pathogenic bacteria
Srivastava P, Logesh AR, Upreti DK, Dhole TN, Srivastava A
Mycosphere 4(4), 734–743, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/4/10

51. Gasteroid mycobiota of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil: Lycoperdon and Vascellum
Cortez VG, Baseia IG, Silveira RMB
Mycosphere 4(4), 745–758, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/4/11

54. The diverse habitats of Hygrocybe – peeking into an enigmatic lifestyle
Halbwachs H, Karasch P, Griffith GW
Mycosphere 4(4), 773–792, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/4/14

55. A checklist of Egyptian fungi: I. Protozoan fungal analogues
Abdel-Azeem AM, Salem Fatma M
Mycosphere 4(4), 794–807, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/4/15

56. The genus Inonotus and its related species in India
Sharma JR, Das K, Mishra D
Mycosphere 4(4), 809–818, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/4/16

59. Myxomycetes of Maharashtra: two new species of Diderma Pers
Mishra RL, Phate PV, Ranade VD
Mycosphere 4(5), 865–869, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/5/2

60. Two new species of Agarics from India
Kaur NJ, Saini MK, Kaur H
Mycosphere 4(5), 856–863, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/5/1

61. Sixty-one macrofungi species new to Hungary in Őrség National Park
Siller I, Kutszegi G, Takács K, Varga T, Merényi Zs, Turcsányi G, Ódor P, Dima B
Mycosphere 4(5), 871–924, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/5/3

63. A new section and two new species of Mycena
Aravindakshan DM, Manimohan P
Mycosphere 4(5), 930–935, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/5/5

68. The international conservation importance of Welsh 'waxcap' grasslands
Griffith GW, Gamarra JGP, Holden EM, Mitchel D, Graham A, Evans DA, Evans SE, Aron C, Noordeloos ME, Kirk PM, Smith SLN, Woods RG, Hale AD, Easton GL, Ratkowsky DA, Stevens DP, Halbwachs H
Mycosphere 4(5), 969–984, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/5/10

72. Two species of Strobilomyces from Jammu and Kashmir, India
Kour H, Kumar S, Sharma YP
Mycosphere 4(5), 1006–1013, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/5/14

73. Indonesian oleaginous yeasts isolated from Piper betle and P. nigrum
Kanti A, Sukara E, Kadarusman L, Sukarno N, Boundy-Mills K
Mycosphere 4(5), 1015–1026, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/5/15

75. First records of myxomycetes from El Salvador
Rojas C, Morales RE, Calderón I, Clerc P
Mycosphere 4(6), 1042–1051, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/6/2

81. A survey of an ectotrophic sand dune forest in the northeast Brazil
Sulzbacher MA, Giachini AJ, Grebenc T, Silva BDB, Gurgel FE, Loiola MIB, Neves MA, Baseia IG
Mycosphere 4(6), 1106–1116, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/6/8

83. Ingoldian fungi from the semi-arid Caatinga biome of Brazil
Fiuza PO, Gusmão LFP
Mycosphere 4(6), 1133–1150, Doi 10.5943/mycosphere/4/6/10

About Mycosphere

Mycosphere publishes reviews, research articles, methodology papers, taxonomic works such as monographs, which are relevant to fungal biology, including lichens. The official journal language is English.

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4.6: Importance of Fungi in Human Life - Biology

Importance of Insects

Insects are everywhere. They are, by far, the most common animals on our planet. More than 1.5 million species of insects have been named. This is three times the number of all other animals combined. Even so, some say that the insects that have been given names are only a small fraction of the insects in nature. Many are yet to be discovered.

We can find insects in almost every conceivable habitat. Their size, shape, color, biology, and life history are so diverse that it makes the study of insects absolutely fascinating.

Without insects, our lives would be vastly different. Insects pollinate many of our fruits, flowers, and vegetables. We would not have much of the produce that we enjoy and rely on without the pollinating services of insects, not to mention honey, beeswax, silk, and other useful products that insects provide.

Insects feed on a seemingly endless array of foods. Many insects are omnivorous, meaning that they can eat a variety of foods including plants, fungi, dead animals, decaying organic matter, and nearly anything they encounter in their environment. Still others are specialists in their diet, which means they may rely only on one particular plant or even one specific part of one particular plant to survive.

Many insects are predatory or parasitic, either on plants or on other insects or animals, including people. Such insects are important in nature to help keep pest populations (insects or weeds) at a tolerable level. We call this the balance of nature. Predatory and parasitic insects are very valuable when they attack other animals or plants that we consider to be pests.

Insects are very important as primary or secondary decomposers. Without insects to help break down and dispose of wastes, dead animals and plants would accumulate in our environment and it would be messy indeed.

Insects are underappreciated for their role in the food web. They are the sole food source for many amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Insects themselves are harvested and eaten by people in some cultures. They are a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, and are prized as delicacies in many third-world countries. In fact, it is difficult to find an insect that is not eaten in one form or another by people. Among the most popular are cicadas, locusts, mantises, grubs, caterpillars, crickets, ants, and wasps.

And insects make our world much more interesting. Naturalists derive a great deal of satisfaction in watching ants work, bees pollinate, or dragonflies patrol. Can you imagine how dull life would become without having butterflies or lightning beetles to add interest to a landscape? People benefit in so many ways by sharing their world with insects.

In spite of all their positive attributes, some insects can cause problems. Unfortunately, most people are more aware of the few insects that cause problems than they are of the many beneficial insects. Uninformed people think that all insects are bad and all are in need of control. We must always keep in mind that the good done by the many beneficial insects far outweighs any bad caused by a few pest species. In spite of this, texts such as this are written about the relatively few insect pests that cause us harm.


Watch the video: Importance of Fungi - Microorganisms: Friend and FOE CBSE Grade 08 Biology (May 2022).