The study of fungi such as mushrooms and yeasts is called mycology. There are many antibiotics and drugs in which fungus is used as a component. Some of the drugs manufactured from fungus are streptomycin, tetracycline, and penicillin. Medical mycology is also used to study pathogenic fungi, which cause diseases to human beings. Mycology is also used in the production of dairy products and chemicals.
What is Mycology?
Mycology refers to the branch of biology related to the study of fungi. Fungi are organisms that produce toxins and antibiotics. It has the property to breakdown complex bio-molecules and it plays a significant role in the carbon cycle. Mycology covers the biochemical and genetic properties of fungi, which can be used to manufacture medicines, food products, tinder, and enthogens for human beings. Mycology has led to the field of study called phytopathology, in which the management of plant diseases is widely studied.
- Mycology: The Stanford School of Medicine provides a good overview on the subject.
- Introduction to Mycology: The University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine offers detailed information on mycology.
History of Mycology
In prehistoric times, mushrooms (a type of fungi) were used in food as well as various medicinal purposes in different parts of the world. Initially, mycology was studied under botany. Later, it was found that fungi are evolutionary so they are more similar to animals than plants. A publication by Pier Antonio Micheli in 1737 started the research on fungi. The term mycology was coined by M.J. Berkeley in 1836, who was a famous mycologist.
- The History of Mycology: The site offers a timeline of important events and important works by noted mycologists.
- Pier Antonio Micheli: Come here to read about the Founder of Scientific Mycology.
- Mycology in Northern Ireland: An account of the history of mycology in Northern Ireland.
Some species of fungus are used for medicinal purposes. Mushrooms were in use for treatment of different diseases for many centuries in Russia, China, and Japan. Mushrooms help to improve the immunity of the human body, and are also used as an anti-cancer and anti-pathogenic substance. Oyster mushrooms are used to enhance Vitamin D levels in the human body and a number of drugs such as ergometrine, statins, cyclosporine, and lovastatin are made from fungi.
- Mycology Online: The University of Adelaide offers a resource center on mycology studies.
- Medical Mycology: The page provides an account of the history of medical mycology in the US.
- Glossary: The University of South Carolina provides a glossary of medical mycology terms.
Mycotoxicology refers to the study of toxins which are produced by various fungus species. A fungus produces toxins when it comes under biological stress. This happens when secondary metabolism is triggered in a fungi which can produce a number of compounds such as enzymes. Enzymes are used by fungi to generate more energy from less amounts of food product. They are also used to attack other microorganisms.
- Mycotoxins in Animal Feeds: Purdue University provides information and tables on the subject.
- Livestock Feeding: The paper focuses on the mold and mycotoxin issues in livestock feeding.
Types of Fungi
There are millions of fungi species with only hundreds of species being identified. These species are identified by their look, spores, and arrangement. A mushroom is a kind of fungi species which has paper thin folds called gills which contain millions of spores. Some species of fungi have small tube-like structures with spores inside the fruit, and other forms have large tooth-like structure with spores on the surface.
- Fun Facts about Fungi: Utah State University provides some interesting facts about fungi.
- Tom Volk’s Fungi: Come here to access resources on fungi including images, research projects, special topics, and more.
- Life History & Evolution: The page provides information on the life history and evolution of fungi.
Mycology Journals and Organizations
There are a number of famous mycology journals around the world. Some of the famous mycology journals and organizations are Fungal Biology of the British Mycological Society, Mycologia of the Mycological Society of America, New York, and The Open Mycology Journal of Bentham Open.
- Fungal Biology: Presented by the British Mycological Society, this is one of the leading journals in fungal biology.
- Mycologia: Published by the Mycological Society of America, this is one of the top journals in mycology.
- The Open Mycology Journal: Published by Bentham Open, the journal offers reviews, research articles, and papers in applied and experimental mycology.
- Mycology: Published by the Taylor and Francis Group, the journal provides professional articles on a variety of mycology subjects.
Tips for Treating Yard Fungi
Yard fungus is a common problem for gardeners. Some of the common fungi found in yards are mushrooms, dollar spots, mildew, and fairy rings. These fungi can be seen in vivid color patterns such as yellow, orange, and red. With the increase in humidity level, the grass fungus and unwanted yard fungus can create some problems. To treat yard fungus infestation, avoid watering the plants before it gets dark and the yard should be dry before night. The lawn is most susceptible to the fairy ring fungi. To treat the ring, fertilizers are required.