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Biology - Research Paper Example

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They are simpler than plants and are more similar to animals in the sense that they are heterotrophic being unable to make their own food. Because of their ability to grow on dead and decaying organisms, fungi have…
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Download file to see previous pages... The stabilization of soil carbon results in enhanced soil properties like improved aeration, aggregation and water-holding capacity which leads to better crop production and soil conservation (Six, Frey and Thiet). Furthermore, fungal species are also able to extract important minerals and elements from rocks and other geologic matter in a process known as bioweathering (Gadd, Burford and Fomina). Fungi have properties that permit them to work under a wider range of pH conditions, resist the effects of toxic metals, UV radiation, and climatic extremes (reviewed in Gadd, Burford and Fomina).
Fungi also have food uses, the most common is the use of yeast to ferment glucose and allow dough to rise and polymerize during bread-making. Other known food uses are production of cheeses and wines, as a substitute for protein foods, and as primary food products. Many are cultivated for food consumption like the common white button, Shiitake and Portobello mushrooms. These have been consumed and cultivated for hundreds of years: for example the consumption of Shiitake as food as been reported since 1313AD while the white button mushroom was first described in 1707 (Baar, Straatsma and Paradi). However, some expensive and rare edible fungi are not yet produced agronomically like truffles, matsutake, and chanterelles. Fungi colonize and penetrate food ingredients which result in the release of enzymes and metabolites that can result in food spoilage. However, the action of these filamentous colonizing fungi, also known as molds or moulds, could also result in fermentation and desirable changes in foods. Foods like tempeh, tofu, soy sauce, Roquefort cheese, blue Stilton cheese, salami, brie, and rice wine have improved flavors and texture because of the action of different types of moulds (Nouts).
A negative aspect of fungi is their ability to cause diseases known collectively as mycoses. According to the US National Center for Health Statistics, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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