Want to understand more about the thing you hate yet admire? Read this article to know about fun and interesting fungi facts.

Fungi Facts

It’s just one of those things that is despised and adored at the same time. You can’t do without it nor can you do with it. You despise it when you see it in its actual form, but love it when it’s secretly there without showing you its face. You despise it when you see it growing on your food, but love it when it is food. You despise it when you trip on it and hurt yourself, but love it when it ferments your beer and wine (even if you trip after drinking). You despise it when it causes athletes foot, but love it when you consume it as penicillin to heal yourself. Okay, enough hype has been build up now so let’s reveal the anti-hero. It’s fungi that we have been talking about all this while. Read further to know about some interesting and fun facts about fungi.
Interesting Facts About Fungi
  • Fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes many microorganisms such as yeasts, molds, and the most renowned, mushrooms.
  • Fungus isn’t grouped under plants, animals, or bacteria, but is instead put under a different category altogether known as Fungi.
  • The microscopic aquatic forms found in Russia are fossil fungi and are at least 545 million years old.
  • Unlike plants, fungi don’t have chlorophyll and get nourishment by playing parasites to hosts. They are saprophytes and obtain from other dead organisms.
  • According to archaeologists, people have been consuming the products of fungal fermentation (beer and wine) for at least 25,000 years.
  • Fungi use antibiotics to fend off other microorganisms that compete with them for food.
  • The first hard evidence that diseases are caused by germs was provided when a fungus, Beauveria bassiana, was found to be killing silkworms in Europe in the early 1800s.
  • People have been using various mouldy concoctions to heal diseases throughout the history.
  • If the scientists who developed penicillin (from Penicillium fungi) had tested it on guinea pigs instead of mice, they might have given up their quest as penicillin is toxic to guinea pigs and would have killed them.
  • Chinese have been using the bracket fungus in their medicines for about 4500 years. It is said to promote long life.
  • When other decomposers like bacteria shut down for the winter, certain fungi remain active and continue to grow at temperatures as low as minus 7 degrees Celsius. Their metabolic processes generate heat. This is why even refrigerated bread turns furry eventually.
  • Moulds and bacteria growing together in sawdust can generate enough heat to make it catch fire.
  • It takes 50-100 years for fungi to reduce a hardwood trunk to dust.
  • One of the first organisms to have its genome decoded was a fungus by the name of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known baker's yeast, in 1997. It has about 6,000 genes.
  • Poorly maintained air-conditioners can house massive colonies of mould. Toxic gases emitted by these moulds are one of the causes of ‘sick building syndrome’.
  • Fungi were among the first organisms to re-colonize the volcano, after Mount St. Helens had erupted in 1980.
  • Fungus is known to have religious importance in the culture of North American Indians. A tribe known as Blackfoot believed that puffballs were stars that fell to Earth.
  • The dried powder of old puffballs has been used as an astringent by First Nations.
  • The fungal disease or athlete's foot spread outside the tropics only when international travel became commonplace, about 100 years ago.
  • Fungi are both microscopic and macroscopic in form. Most common structural forms of microscopic fungi are the hyphae with diameter ranging from 2 - 10 micrometer.
  • Common forms of macroscopic fungi are molds and mushrooms that are easily visible to the naked eyes.
  • Red squirrels gather and store dried fungi in trees and eat them in the winter season.
  • There are more than 60 species of fungi that exhibit the phenomenon of emitting light from their bodies known as bioluminescence.
  • Some mushrooms can stay inactive for centuries without dying, if provided with right conditions.
  • The mushroom of fungi is commonly used as food and medicine, but not many know that these fungi are also used in the absorption and digestion of industrial waste, pesticides and oils.
Now those were some pretty good facts about Fungi. Who knew, right?

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