Fungi are everywhere, and they play an important role in our ecosystem. Fungi can be helpful to humans by providing food and medicine, but some species can cause damage to plants, animals and even people. In this article we'll explore the different types of fungi you might encounter in your garden or on a hike. By knowing what fungi look like, how they grow and what they do for us, we can better understand them as organisms—and even appreciate them!
Fungi are everywhere. You may have seen them growing on your favorite pair of shoes or in your kitchen, but fungi can be found almost anywhere. They thrive in soil, water and even air! Fungi can also grow on plants and animals (like humans). There are many different kinds of fungi that look very different from each other depending on where they live and what they eat. For example:
Mushrooms are the most familiar fungi. They're those little brown or white buttons you often find at the grocery store, but they can also be found in other colors and shapes. Their texture varies depending on how they were grown: some mushrooms have soft, moist flesh while others are dry and crunchy.
Mushrooms are a good source of protein and contain B vitamins including riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6) and folate/folic acid as well as vitamin D in some varieties such as portobello or shiitake mushrooms. They're easy to cook -- simply sautÃ© until tender -- or eat raw if you prefer them that way!
Yeast is a type of fungus that makes bread rise and beer ferment. It's a single-celled organism that lives in water, and when you add it to a batch of dough, it eats the sugars in the flour and releases carbon dioxide gas bubbles. This makes your dough rise!
Yeast has been used for thousands of years to make bread rise more quickly than just letting it sit out overnight (which would take days). There are many different kinds of yeast available today--you can buy packets at grocery stores or online (or even make them yourself).
Some fungi are helpful to humans, such as those that produce antibiotics, pigments and enzymes. These fungi are used in the production of beer and wine.
Fungi can be helpful when it comes to breaking down organic matter like leaves or dead plants--some mushrooms grow off trees that die naturally due to disease or old age. This helps keep the forests healthy by recycling nutrients back into the soil instead of letting them all wash away in rainwater runoff, which often causes flooding problems when there's too much sediment being carried away from one area at once (think about how clogged up storm drains get after a heavy rainfall).
Another example of a fungus is the one that causes athlete's foot. This fungus can also be found on other surfaces, such as carpets and mattresses. If you have itchy patches between your toes, or if they feel like they're burning and cracking, contact your doctor to get diagnosed with this condition.
Other harmful molds include those that cause disease in people, animals and plants:
There are many different kinds of fungi that can be used to do different things. Bread mold, for example, is a type of fungus that helps make bread rise and beer ferment by producing enzymes that break down the starch in flour into glucose molecules. Fungi also produce antibiotics and pigments (like the red pigment in mushrooms), as well as some types of enzymes used in medicine or food processing.
Fungi can cause diseases in people and animals too! Some examples include athlete's foot, ringworm or thrush (a fungal infection inside your mouth), cryptococcal meningitis (a serious disease caused by fungus) and histoplasmosis (a lung infection caused by breathing in spores from the soil).
Fungi are a very diverse group of organisms that can be found almost anywhere. They have been around for millions of years and will likely be around for many more years to come!