Fungi – fungus in singular – are a very diverse groups of organisms encompassing a wide range of life forms. It can be in a form from single celled to very complex multicellular organisms. They can be microscopic or present large fruiting bodies with underground systems that extend for miles or even hectares!
Decomposers and Recyclers
Fungus plays an important roles of soil biodiversity, they closely interlink with vegetation, carbon and nutrient cycling. As a result, they are major drivers of soil health and carbon sequestration, among other ecosystem functions.
They have the ability to transform nutrients in a way that makes them available for plants. Fungi also can be decomposers which mean that they break down plant and animal debris, thus cycling nutrient and increasing their availability in the soil. They can also propel nitrogen fixation and phosphorus mobilization, two of the main nutrients required for plant development and productivity. The action of fungi releases nitrogen from decaying matter, making them available to other living organisms.
The Importance of Fungi in Human Life
Although we often think of fungi cause disease and rot food, fungi are important to human life on many levels. They influence us on a large scale because fungi have part of the nutrient cycle in ecosystems.
First, the mycorrhizal relationship between fungi and plant roots is essential for the productivity of farm land. Second, fungi have beneficial for fermentation, with of grains to produce beer, or with fruits to produce wine.
Third, they also provide health benefits for us. In fact, six percent of edible mushrooms possess medicinal properties, which can help prevent diseases and boost our immune system. Shiitake, for example, present antiviral properties and can reduce serum cholesterol. Or other species are known to possess a number of other benefits such as inhibit tumor and more.