The Diversity of the Fungal
DOL National Trials, Winter
Fungal Diversity
 Yeast
 Mold
 Mushrooms
 Mildew
 Lichens
Beneficial Fungi
What do you know about penicillin?
Penicillin is an antibiotic made from the
mold, Penicillium crysogenum. It was
discovered in 1929 by Alexander Fleming.
The mold releases a chemical that keeps
bacteria from forming new cell walls when
they divide, effectively killing them.
Beneficial Fungi
What are some other ways in which fungi
are beneficial?
Other Penicillium molds are used to make
camembert, brie and gorgonzola cheeses!
Beneficial Fungi
We eat mushrooms and
use yeast to make bread.
90% of all mushrooms
grown for food in the
U.S. and Europe are
button mushrooms,
Agaricus bisporus.
When this mushroom
matures, it is called the
portobello mushroom.
Beneficial Fungi
Fungi are important
decomposers. They break
down dead stuff and
return the nutrients to the
Potentially Harmful Fungi
What are some ways in which fungi can be
Some fungi are poisonous.
The destroying angel
mushroom looks harmless
enough, but eating just
one can kill a person.
These fungi cause more
than 90% of mushroomrelated deaths.
Potentially Harmful Fungi
Spores from molds and
mildew that grow in
damp houses can cause
respiratory problems,
asthma attacks, and
irritations in the eyes,
nose, and throat.
What are lichens and where
can you find them?
A fungus teams up with a
photosynthetic algae to
form a partnership called a
Lichens are commonly found on trees in the
forest, but have been observed in many
places, including on rocks, in the Arctic and
in deserts.
Some Fun Fungi Facts
 Fungi don’t need light to grow.
 Fungal spores have lasted
hundreds of years.
 In a cubic centimeter of soil,
there may be 8 miles of hyphae
 Some fungi have proven
effective in killing viruses like the
 Fungi were the first organisms to
come to land over 1.3 billion
years ago!
On a final note…
The largest living organism
in the world may be a
fungus. It covers a space
about the size of 1,665
football fields! It grows in a
forest in Oregon and
spreads underground by
intertwining threads of
hyphae, the mycelium.
Honey mushrooms spring

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