Biology - Fungi


  • Fungi are the members of eukaryotic organisms, which includes microorganisms such as molds, yeasts, and mushrooms.

  • Fungi do not photosynthesize rather they obtain their food by absorbing the dissolved molecules, usually by secreting digestive enzymes into their environment.

  • Fungi are found in almost every part of the world, and they can grow in a wide range of habitats, ranging from extreme environments (such as deserts) to mild (such as temperate region).

  • Fungi are the primary decomposers in most of the ecological systems.

  • The study of fungi is known as mycology.

  • Fungi have membrane-bound cytoplasmic organelles, for example mitochondria, sterol-containing membranes, and ribosomes.

  • Fungi have also a cell wall and vacuoles (property of plants).

  • Fungi have no chloroplast and they are heterotrophic organisms (property of animals); likewise, fungi have both the properties of plants and animals.

Advantages of Fungi

  • Fungi have medicinal advantages, as they have been used for the manufacturing of antibiotics and various enzymes.

  • One of the most popular antibiotic drug penicillin is manufactured from the fungus Penicillium.

  • The ‘shiitake,’ one of the types of mushroom is a source of a clinical drug known as Lentinan.

  • Fungi are also used as the biological pesticides to control plant diseases, weeds, and insect pests.

  • In Japan, Lentinan is used to treat in cancer disease.

  • As they feed the dead organic matters, fungi recycle about 85 percent of the carbon from dead organic matter; likewise, fungi release the locked-up nutrients so that they can be used by other organisms.

  • Many varieties of fungi such as oyster mushrooms, straw mushrooms, shiitakes, milk mushrooms, truffles, and black trumpets are edible.

  • Portobello mushrooms and Button mushrooms are usually used in soups and salads.

  • Fungi are also used to produce industrial chemicals, including citric, malic and lactic acids.

  • Fungi are frequently used to produce industrial chemicals, such as citric, malic and lactic acids.

Disadvantages of Fungi

  • Some mushrooms, though they look like edible mushrooms, but they are poisonous that may cause even death to the person who ate.

  • Some Fungi can infiltrate the external layers of the human bodies and cause itching and rashes problems.

  • Certain fungi appear on food stuffs and destroy them shortly.

  • Fungi also cause various diseases to animals (including humans) as well as plants.

Fungal Diseases

  • Fungi cause many diseases, significant of them are −

    • Athlete’s foot - Taenia pedis

    • Asthma - Aspergillus fumigatus

    • Ring work - Trichophyton

    • Meningitis - Cryptococcus neoformans

    • Baldness - Taenia captis

    • Dermatophilosis - Dermatophilus congolensis

    • Wart disease of potato - Synchytrium endobioticum

    • Rhinosporidiosis - Rhinosporidium seeberi

    • Rust of wheat - Puccinia graminis tritici

    • Red rot of sugarcane - Colletotrichurn falcatum