Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Knowing More About Fungus

Mushroom is one of small group in fungus family.

Not many of us know more about fungus than the tasty edible mushrooms. Not only some mushrooms are tasty but some of them too are so expensive such as truffle and matsutake. Anyway fungus or fungi family consist of millions species includes microorganism such as yeast and moulds. They also play important roles in decomposing organic materials in nature. As we know so far, fungus contributes in many fields such as pharmaceuticals, foods & beverages and in the future it will contribute as materials.

No one really understand the world of fungi but those studying it seriously and they are called mycologist. Mycology is the branch of biology specifically to study the world of fungi in details. This branch of study start in the early of 17th century after the invention of microscope even though fungal spores was observed earlier by Giambattista della Porta in 1588. In fact human already used fungus millennial years ago to prepare their food and beverages.

The diversity of mushrooms with distinct features.

The veiled lady mushroom.

The study of fungi not only to recognize their species but also to know their potential that can bring beneficial usage to humankind and nature. The knowledge of mushroom cultivation for example had generate billions of incomes all over the world. Not to mention the discoveries of penicillin that saves millions of human life. Fungus not only important for human. In fact they are more important to nature in recycling the organic materials to make sure that the nutrients will be back into the soils. Plants also requires fungi through mycorrhizal symbiosis in order to allow plants to take inorganic compounds such as nitrate and phosphate.

Since fungus are everywhere with its microscopic spores, they are related to any form of life’s on earth. Both for beneficial purposes or parasitic forms. Fungi also known for its parasitic characteristics and causes lots of damages to crops. While they also causes many fungal diseases to animals and human too. Perhaps the scariest of all are zombie fungi that also known as cordyceps – but they also used as traditional medicine.

Ophiocordyceps sinensis - used as part of traditional medicine in China.

Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) the unicellular fungus under microscope.

Stilton cheese veined with Penicillium roqueforti - another type of fungus.

The future of fungi will be more on materials designs. With more research develops to identify the potentials of fungi to replace the harmful plastics. Maybe it can’t take all functions of plastics but only some of it. Anyway, the most important thing they are biodegradable materials that will enrich the soils instead of damaging it.


We are going to see more articles in details about fungus in the future. Hopefully this article already create an interest for us to know more about it.



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