Ecological and economic importance of fungi

Outline

Ecological roles

Saprobes
ecology
found primarily in terrestrial ecosystems and running water

important soil decomposers (esp. basidiomycetes)

economics

destruction of food
molds, e.g., Rhizopus

destruction of lumber

structural damage

dry rot and molds

Parasites/pathogens

zygomycetes
the fly fungi, e.g., Entomophthora

Rhizopus -- plant pathogen

ascomycetes

plant diseases

human diseases (athlete's foot, ringworm)

ergotism, tall fescue

deuteromycetes

Candida -- yeast infections, thrush

basidiomycetes

Class Teliomycetes -- rusts and smuts

Predators -- trap and eat protozoans (amoebae)

Some soil deuteromycetes are predators of nematodes

Mutualists -- lichens and mycorrhizae

Other economic applications

Food
zygomycetes
tempeh -- Rhizopus and soybeans

ascomycetes

Morchella (morels)

truffles

yeasts -- bread, alcholic beverages

deuteromycetes

Penicillium -- cheeses

basidiomycetes

mushrooms

Drugs

antibiotics -- penicillin and others

antifungals

Industrial applications

steroid production

other chemical production (e.g., citric acid)

 

Vocabulary

click here to go to fungal ecology and economics vocabulary


 

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