Why do fungi play an important ecological role on Earth?

This mushrooms play an important role in nature. They are decomposers, nutrient recyclers, scavengers, mutualists, pathogens, and biomarkers of the conservation status of living communities. A study of the distribution of fungi across spatial scales has shed more light on the role of these creatures. ecological importance and its impact on agriculture and human health.

Without fungi, there would be no life on Earth.. For this reason, some scientists have pointed out that fungi should be included in the global conservation goals and the number of species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) ‘Red List of Threatened Species’ should be increased.

There may be between 3 and 13 million fungal species on the planet, most of it is microscopic. More than 100,000 have been described so far, about 10,000 in Spain. They can live in a wide variety of environments, from almost any type of soil to the interior of leaf tissue, and from tropical rainforests to the ocean floors.

Although they are often associated with death and decay, they live in many cases. beneficial relationships with plants and other living organisms. Like bacteria, insects and worms, It recycles nutrients in nature and releases vital substances for other organisms..

Pholiota squarrosa fruiting stems on a tree trunk. Bala Chaudhary

especially important symbiotic relationship with plants. The latter provides carbohydrates for the fungi, while the latter provides the former with access to water, nitrogen, phosphorus and other essential minerals.

It is usually a partnership that benefits both parties. Both are necessary to live and thrive. Relationship is vital: 90% of land plants have fungi in their roots..

Manufacturers of antibiotics, hormones and vitamins

Moreover, fungi produce antibiotics, hormones and vitamins useful for the plant. To promote growth and root protection against external pathogens, alleviate the effects of toxinsfor example those of heavy metals and improve soil structure.

More: mushrooms -some- food source for many animals and humans. These rich in carbohydrates and minerals. Although it is true that only a minority are edible and many that are poisonous.

They also play a very important role for people in the economic field, because They are used in the manufacture of medicines and in the production of cheese, bread, wine and beer..

Examples of the poisonous mushroom Amanita muscaria (fly flap or false oronja). pixabay

On the downside, some of these organisms come from spoilage of food, pollution of the environment, deterioration of materials such as wood, clothing or paint, and diseases in plants and animals, including humans. In fact, it is estimated that they kill more than a million people every year around the world.

However, there are significant gaps in knowledge about both the ecological and social mechanisms and consequences of the spread of fungi from the local to the global scales. That is why the study led by Dartmouth College mycologist Bala Chaudhary and published in the ‘Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics’.

The authors summarized the underlying concepts. spread of fungireviewed recent research (4,500 articles from approximately 1,200 sources published between 1951 and 2021) and explored how mushrooms have their own characteristics This helps broaden human understanding of the general dispersal ecology.

Predict human diseases

They think advances in the spread of fungi will improve understanding of biogeography and the cohesion of fungal communities. ecosystem functioning, global food security, and impacts on human health.

Therefore, this information can be used, for example, for: predict the incidence of human disease or future epidemics in crops. “Studying how fungi are distributed is crucial to understanding fungal biodiversity and where species are distributed on Earth,” Chaudhary said. Said.

Aspergillus (left), microsporum (middle) and penicillium (right) fungus. EFE / Ana Alastruey

Authors identified four scales of mushroom movement. One of them is that they do it on a small scale in the soil with the help of their micelles. They can also be transported by invertebrates. On a larger scale, fungi can be dispersed as follows: birds and mammals. Finally, water and wind are responsible for the dispersal of fungi on larger scales.

Researchers highlight: Climate change can also alter the distribution of fungi on the planet. (predictably it already does), human use of the land also affects the spread of these organisms.

“With climate change anthropogenic land usecan affect the way fungi move. The relative importance of motion vectors varies on the spatial scale, but there is little data to support these relationships,” notes Chaudhary.

Scientists consider mushrooms real ‘biological weapons’. Some capable of breaking down plastic and others, even absorbs radiation and converts it into energy for growth. These and other applications are currently under review.

Reference report: https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-012622-021604


Contact address of the environment department: [email protected]

Source: Informacion


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