Freaky Fungus


FreakyFungusView/download printable version

More information

Fungus play an important role in the decomposition of organic matter. This decomposition is necessary for many of the cycles of life such as the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen cycles. By breaking down organic matter, fungus release carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen into the soil and the atmosphere.
Do you know what the study of fungus is known as? What about the scientists who study them? Send us your answers to edu@ncf-india.org 

How do fungus reproduce? Fungus don’t reproduce like plants, animals or bacteria. Instead they make fruits, like the mushroom we eat. These fruit-like bodies have spores in them, which act like seeds. These spore are tiny and light, and are easily carried around in the air. When these spores land in a damp place, they grow. This is how they get onto our walls, and even between our toes! Fungi also produce substances that we use as drugs. One such drug was crucial in World War II. Can you name this drug that was used against bacterial infections?


Fungi in your food- healthy or rotten? At home, your  kitchen and  fridge are most likely places you might find fungus. Some of it is edible, like bread (what part of your bread is fungi?), button and oyster mushrooms. Some of it can be dangerous and even poisonous. Have you ever forgotten a box of food – uneaten lunch, some leftover dal, an orange in a corner of your kitchen/fridge? You’ve probably been horrified to find cotton candy like black covering over the food or green stuff on the orange. These are fungi (the plural of fungus in case you were wondering!).

Contest

Did you go fungus hunting? How many did you find? Send us descriptions and illustrations of all the different types of fungus you come across to edu@ncf-india.org for a chance to win a book on fungus. Tell us also how you fared when you tried to grow mould at home!   

Comments welcome!