Fungi Meaning

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:

  1. Phycomycetes (Oomycetes and Zygomycetes)
  2. Ascomycetes
  3. Basidiomycetes
  4. Deutermycetes

Economic importance of Fungi

Useful activities

  • 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.
  1. Citric acid and oxalic acid from Aspergillus niger
  2. 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.
Read this one too :   Definition and scope of biodiversity

Harmful activities

  • 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.
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