Fungi are nucleated, spore bearing, non- vascular and achlorophyllous organism which generally reproduces asexually and sexually.
- Fungi are large group of achlorophyllous organism organisms show parasitic saprophytic or symbiotic mode of nutrition.
- They are eukaryotic and multicellular organisms except yeast (unicellular).
- The plant body is called mycelium and individual filament is hypha.
- The cell wall composed of fungal cellulose or chitin.
- The reserve food materials remain in the forms of glycogen and oil globules.
The kingdom of fungi is classified into the following classes:
- Phycomycetes (Oomycetes and Zygomycetes)
Economic importance of Fungi
- Several species of mushrooms (Agaricus campestris, A. biosporus) are used as food.
- Some mushroom helps to prevent high blood pressure, blood cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, cancer etc.
- Some mushroom like Amillaria mellea are edible in nature and serious parasites of both hardwoods and conifers.
- Several species of fungi are used in brewery, baking and cheese industry.
- Well known antibiotics penicillin is extracted from the fungus Penicillium notatum.
- Several fungi are utilized in the commercial production of various organic acids.
- Citric acid and oxalic acid from Aspergillus niger
- Fumaric acid from Rhizopus stolonifer.
- A plant hormone gibberellin is produced by Gibberella fujikuroi.
- Some fungi are utilized for biological control of plants pests and insects which causes human disease.
- The fungi like Chaetomium globosum, Polyporus abientinus help in recovering the soil nutrients.
- Some fungi are used in different genetic studies eg. Neurospora
- Some fungi like Aspergillus and penicillium are commonly used in cheese industry.
- Some fungi like yeast are used in alcoholic fermentation.
- Some species of mushroom like Aminita verna, A. phalloides may cause the death, A.muscaria causes gastric disturbances.
- Number of fungi like Mucor, Rhizopus, Penicillum, Aspergillus etc. causes rotting of fruits, vegetables, pickle, bread etc.
- Several crop plants are destroyed by fungal diseases e.g. early blight of potato- Alternaria solani, white rust of crucifers- Albugo candida.
- Several types of allergic disease in man caused by Aspergillus, Alternaria, Mucor, Yeast etc.
- Fungi destroy timber and timber products e.g. Polyporous spp., Fusarium nigundi.
- The glass components of optical instruments are spoiled by several types of fungi as Aspergillus niger, Albugo candida, Helminthosporium spp.
- Alternaria, Penicillium, Rhizopus etc. causes destruction of wool, cotton etc.