Ques: Define economic importance of fungi.
Fungi used as food:
- Mushrooms and morels:- These are edible fungi used as delicious vegetables all over the world.
- Yeast:- It mainly consists of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Yeast food is a rich source of vitamins such a thiamin riboflavin, nicotinic acid, pantothenic acid, biotin, pyridoxin and amino benzoic acid.
Fungi used in food processing:
Fungi such as species of Aspergillus and Penicillium are employed in the processing of certain food products, baking and cheese industry.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used in bread making.
Fungi in medicine:
Fungi were extensively used for their supposed curative properties.
(a) Antibiotics- Notatin -> Penicillium notatum, Penicillin->Penicillium chrysogenum
(b)Steroids- Except Myxomycetes wide variety of fungi synthesized steroids.
(c)Vitamins- These include thiamin, Riboflavin, Pantothenic acid, Pyridoxin, Biotin, Choline Ergosterol and Vitamin B and D.
(d)Therapeutic uses of – Extracts of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Aspergillus niger have proved specific in extreme cases of malignancy.