Fungus: Its applications

   The Fungus has commonly been associated with the pest. However, the fungus has been useful to humans since the beginning of times. Fungus or Fungii exists in many forms. Some forms being useful while others not so much. Fungus exists in nature as well as man-made products. Fungus exists in the form of mushrooms, residential mold, and by-products.

Mushrooms have been in use since the beginning of civilization. In the ancient days, assassinations were planned using a plate full of poisonous mushrooms. Though some mushrooms are poisonous especially wild ones, mushrooms, in general, have become an essential food item in grocery stores and markets worldwide. Since mushrooms are relatively easy to grow they are also a business that can survive in mass production. Mushrooms require little to no sunlight, stable temperatures and a lot of moisture. Hence, many facilities in North America actually grow mushrooms some 200 – 300 feet underground rather than above ground. These mushrooms are provided ideal conditions to basically recycle the soil as they grow, decompose and start the cycle again. In fact, one can grow mushrooms in their own basement or shed. Mushrooms have millions of spores that help its fast-paced growth. This growth and its consumption in food and medicine make mushrooms a popular farmer’s product. In medicine, mushrooms have been in use in various medical traditions and cultures around the world. They have “been used as sacraments in rituals aimed at mental and physical healing”. They have been thought to provide a life-changing and mystical insights as well as facilitate “visionary states”. Psilocybin, a chemical found in mushrooms is observed to help people “suffering from psychological disorders”. They have also helped with cluster and migraine headaches. In fact, mushroom extracts have been used to treat “polysaccharides, glycoprotein, and proteoglycans”. They have been used in traditional Chinese medicine as well as chemotherapy in various countries. With all the uses and applications, it is no wonder mushrooms are an exciting and useful fungi species.

The Fungus also exists in the form of residential mold. In fact, mold removal in existing or new construction is more than a billion dollar industry. Molds develop in kitchen, kitchen countertopswashroomsbasements, decks and almost anywhere where there are lumber and forestry products involved. Mold Development in structure result from lack of maintenance, constant water exposure which in turn results into fungi and mold development. Mold removal inexpensive both in part replacements and labor hence fungi, in this case, prove to be a pest.

Last, of all, fungi are often used in form of consumer by-products. Form corn meals to “biological remediation techniques” as well as filtration technologies for contaminated water, fungi have played and continue to play a huge part in these industries. In fact, fungi not only are used to make products but many forms of fungi are treated with chemicals and products leading to the development of new materials, products, and business growth.  Sanitary waste products include Poo powder used for portable toilets also prevents “the growth of E-coli bacteria”. Hence, consumer products made from or resulting from fungi contribute to millions and billions of dollars in business and trade.

In conclusion, fungus or fungi are a source of immense change and development in the growing consumer market. New research and study of fungus not only results in new consumer products but treatment and cure of diseases that fungus brings with it. For example, “Tinea pedis is the term used for a dermatophyte infection of the soles of the feet and the interdigital spaces. Tinea pedis is most commonly caused by Trichophyton rubrum, a dermatophyte initially endemic only to a small region of Southeast Asia and in parts of Africa and Australia” (Google), It also “affects 75 % of Americans to some degree”. Fungi on wet surfaces stick to the skin and start growing resulting in “Athlete’s Foot”.

 

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