Mycology The study of FUngi

Fungi are non-green plantlike organisms that don’t move from place to place. The singular of fungi is fungus. A fungus is a plant like living thing that does not contain chlorophyll. Some fungi, such as yeast are one-celled. Others, such as mushrooms, are many celled. Unlike plants Fungi cannot make their own food, but must take in food to get energy to live. Some fungi get food from things that are dead while other are parasites. A parasite is an organism that gets food from and harms another living thing.

Lichens are a result of a partnership between fungus and algae. Lichens are described as single organisms that are found on barren rocks and soil. Lichens can grow where nothing else could possibly survive, and where neither fungi nor algae could exist alone. Lichens can help scientists in determining air quality as well as be destructive to human structures. Lichens are able to live in cracks of old stonework working thi way deeper and deeper into the stone making large chunks fall away in the process

Fungi are classified in their own kingdom since they do not have chlorophyll and cannot make their own food . Fungi secrete enzymes, which digest food found outside the organism, and then the fungi absorb the resulting nutrients. Mushrooms, molds, yeast and mildews are all a part of the fungi kingdom. Fungi can be both beneficial and detrimental to mankind. Fungi help in the breaking down and removal of dead organic matter. Some species attack k=the tissues of living trees and plants resulting in many plant diseases being caused by parasitic fungi. In the 1840's in Ireland, the potato blight fungus, Phytophthora, destroyed the potato crop and caused serious famine. Dutch elm disease, corn smut, and wheat rust are examples of fungal diseases that attack plants.

Some fungus can be eaten safely, while others are poisonous. Penicillin, which is produced by the sac fungus Penicillium, is used as an antibiotic to fight disease. Allergy medications and cortisone are products of fungi as well. Yeast, used int he making of bread and wine, blue cheese and yogurt also contain beneficial

Infectious fungi cause ringworm and athletes foot. The saying "There's a fungus among us," is accurate in all aspects being both positive and negative in the regenerative loop of the Earth's environment.

FUNGUS: The Good



Blue Cheese



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Fungus: The Bad

Dermatophytosis is a fungal skin disease commonly called ringworm. The fungus lives on the skin surface in dead skin cells. As the fungus grows, it often spreads outward in a circular pattern: hence the name ringworm. Fungi can be found in soil, animals, and people. A pet may acquire a fungal infection from any of these sources and may pass the infection along to other animals or people. Fungal infections first appear as one or more small areas of hair loss that may be reddened or inflamed. As infection progresses, crusts form on the area of hair loss, the patches increase in number and size, and large portions of skin may become involved.

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  • What is a ringworm?
  • How does a person or animal get a ringworm?
  • Can a ringworm stop growing on its own?
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Fungus: The Ugly

Molds are another kind of fungus that grow on bread or fruit. Mold is made up of threadlike structures with some of the threads growing down into the bread for sustenance. Mold has spores growing on the ends of the threads. Spores are single cells that are the reproductive unit of fungi and is analogous to the seed of green plants. The fuzzy substance growing on stale bread is called sporangium fungus. Molds can also grow on dead organisms, food made by plants or people, leather, cloth, or paper.

Observing Bread Mold Lab

Lab Procedure: 1. Observe the bread mold with a hand lens and describe its texture, color and any structures. 2. Take a toothpick and scrape a tiny bit of the mold from the bread. 3. Take a microscope slide, and using an eyedropper place a drop of water on the slide. 4. Place the mold sample on the water drop placing the cover slide at the edge of the water drop. 5. Using the microscope, have students draw and describe what they see.

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