Uses of Fungi

There have some beneficial uses of fungi. We are going to discuss here as follows.

Uses of Fungi in Industries

Uses of Fungi in alcoholic production

Of the large number of known metabolic products of fungi, ethyl alcohol is most widely used. Several strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) are used to produce different types of alcoholic drinks like whisky, beer, rum and wine.

Uses of Fungi in enzyme production

Many extracellular and intracellular enzymes such as invertase, amylase, etc. are produced by fungi.

uses of Fungi in production of organic acids

A number of organic acids, like gluconic acid, itaconic acid, kojic acid, lactic acid, gallic acid and fumaric acid are manufactured by various species of fungi.

Uses in Fungi in agricultural field

Uses of Fungi as scavangers

Carbon dioxide supply in the atmosphere is mainly maintained by the decomposition of plants and animals debris by fungi and bacteria. In the absence of these activities of scavangers, the surface of the earth would have become clogged with the gathering remains of plants and animals. The slow decomposition of plant fragments in soil also supplies humus which is important to maintain the fertility of soil.

Uses of fungi in Biological control

Many plant diseases and disease causing agents are controlled by fungi. Trichoderma lignorum, a fungus, suppresses the development of Pythium and other root rot fungi and inspire the better growth of crops. Certain fungi parasitize amoebae, nematodes and other microscopic terrestrial or aquatic animals. Some of these fungi are gainfully utilized for controlling soil borne pathogens like nematodes.

Role of mycorrhizae as uses of fungi

Mycorrhizae are an relationship between fungal hyphae and roots of higher plants, probably signifying a condition of balanced symbiosis through which the plant obtains nutrition from the fungal hyphae. Mycorrhizae are world-wide in distribution and the species of Rhizoctonia, Phoma, Tricholoma, Lycoperdon, Boletus and Scleroderma are reported to form mycorrhizal relationship with different types of plants.

Uses of Fungi in soil aggregation

Fungi such as Aspergillus, Penicillium, Cladosporium and Rhizopus have the soil binding properties. This property of soil aggregation is accomplished by the secretion of mucilaginous substances and polysaccharides, those are secreted by them.

Uses of Fungi as food

Many fungi can be responsible for food. From time ancient yeasts have been used in brewing industry and in bread making. Yeasts contain about 50% proteins as well as vitamin B complex and ergo sterol. Certain molds like Rhizopus nigricans, Aspergillus oryzae and Penicillium notatum are also rich source of proteins. They may contain as much as 40% proteins. In near future proteins obtained from mold fungi may increase the protein needed for the ever increasing millions. Fruiting bodies of several mushrooms like Agaricus, Morchella, Volvariella, etc. are edible. They are preferred both for their taste and food value. Mushrooms are good basis of vitamins, essential amino acids, minerals and carbohydrates.

Uses of fungi as Antibiotics

Antibiotics are metabolic products of an organism that are inhibitory to other microorganisms in very small amounts. A number of antibiotics are obtained by fungi. For example, Penicillium notatum .

Uses of fungi as medicine

Ergots are produced by Claviceps purpurea. The ergots have various alkaloids which are used to induce uterine contraction for abortions, menstrual ailments and to control hemorrhages. e-Ephedrine is synthesized by yeast from benzaldehyde. It is definite for the treatment of asthma and nasal trouble. Cortisone, a steroid, is prepared by the fermentation of glycosides of plants by molds like Rhizopus nigricans and Aspergillus niger. Cortisone can be used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Many fungi are rich in vitamins. Yeasts are rich in thiamine, riboflavin and a pioneer of vitamin D.

Uses of fungi in Biological Process

Fungi are important research tools in the study of fundamental biological processes. They require little time to produce a number of generations as related to higher plants and animals. They also require less space and fewer expensive equipment for arranging experiments for such studies.