But there was a time in history you probably have never heard of, the age of the fungus. Around two hundred and fifty million years ago the earth was populated by ancient plants and animals. The Permian extinction changed all that, over 90% of life on Earth vanished the animals were decimated, and so are the plants. This included many millions and billions of trees leaving massive fields of the dead wood. And what thrives on dead wood and dead animal tissue? That’s right!
, with few animals to tromp on them or eat them few plants to crowd them, and a massive deadwood buffet. The fungi after the Permian extinction were able to dominate the landscape.
Non-phototrophic means that they can’t use light for energy because they lack chlorophyll. Distinguishing them from plants, the cell walls of fungi are unique and that they contain large amounts of chitin, a structural component only found in the cell walls of fungi. The chitin makes the cell walls rigid. So, if fungi can’t perform photosynthesis what do they do for nutrients? Many
A Saprophyte is an organism that acquires nutrients from dead organic matter. This can be as common as seeing mushrooms growing on dead wood or mold, surviving in your refrigerator on last week’s takeout food. These fungi are actually very important to the health of the ecosystem, rapidly breaking down plant and animal material and returning it to a more usable form. Other
or parasites obtaining nutrients from a host species. Many common plant diseases are a result of a fungus siphoning nutrition from the plant. There are even some human diseases caused by fungi, but we’ll talk more in-depth about those later.
Numerous growths are normal contaminants of nourishments, most parasites replicate by discharging spores which are the safe conceptive rusting phase of an organism. These spores are able to survive the high temperatures and pH extremes often use for food preservation. Spores cannot be killed by freezing and some can even germinate resulting in actively growing
in your freezer.
- The Fungi are a group of eukaryotic non-phototrophic organisms, with rigid cell walls. This includes mushrooms, molds, and yeasts.
- Many, fungi are saprophytes getting nutrients by absorbing them from dead decaying plant material. Still, other fungi are parasites, stealing resources from a host organism.
- Many fungi reproduce by releasing spores, these resistant reproductive structures are often food contaminants, due to their ability to survive most common food preservation methods.
- Mushrooms are multicellular fungi with stalks and caps, that are most often found growing on decaying plant material.
- Molds are multicellular filamentous fungi that are commonly found on foods.
- Yeasts are any unicellular fungus, being single-celled and eukaryotic, yeasts make excellent research organisms for studying processes that can be applied to humans as well.
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae a research model organism, that is also used to make bread rise, beverages, and alcohol.
- A mycosis is a disease caused by the growth of a fungus on or inside a human body, most mycotic diseases infect the body surfaces or respiratory tract and are not considered serious diseases.
- Treating fungal infections can be difficult as most drugs that target fungi will also harm human cells.