Fungi are group of organisms which are heterotrophic and cannot prepare their own food. They are non motile and multi-cellular. They include yeast, molds and mushrooms. No doubt majority of fungi are harmful and they cause many diseases but some of them are useful and they are in use in various industries as well. Some of the important benefits of fungi are as follow:
Fungi along with bacteria are important decomposers. They feed on dead and decaying plants and animals and they cause breakdown of complex substances into simpler ones. They can recycle up to 85% of carbon from dead and decaying organisms. They are important in nature as they are important source of returning many nutrients to environment and without them it would not be possible.
Uses of Fungi in Medicine and Health Industry
A large number of mushrooms such as Ganoderma lucidum, Cordyceps sinensis and Agaricus subrufescens are in use for therapeutic purposes. In mushrooms a large number of components are present which act against large number of viruses. There is approved use of Lentinan for treatment of cancer. Penicillium is also common fungus for various bacterial infection as it is potent antibiotic. Lovastatin is also in use for lowering of blood pressure.
Utilization in various Chemical Industries
There is high demand of fungi for production of various chemicals such as malic, citric and lactic acid. They are also important source of origin for production of many enzymes such as of cellulase, lipase and amylase. Lipase is basically in use in detergents industry where as fungi are also in utilization for production of agents that control insects biologically. Toxin which are obtained from fungi and which act against different insects are usually effective in very low concentration.