In this article, we will discuss Harmful Economic Aspects of Fungi. So, let’s get started.
Harmful economic aspects of fungi:
i) Spoilage of food, stored grains and other essential commodities: Fungi (mould fungi) are the chief agents responsible for most of the disintegration of fruits, vegetables and other done stuffs, e.g. jams, jelly, pickles, bread, various cooked-foods eat. if not properly stored. Common food damaging fungi are Aspergillus, Penicillium, Mucor and Rhizopus. About 25 -50% of harvested fruits and vegetables are destroyed by fungi.
ii) Induce diseases of plants: Fungi are also responsible for millions of rupees worth of damage to crops by causing plast diseases. Of the serious diseases of crop plants, late blight disease of potato plant caused by Phytophthora infestans; Claviceps purpurea (Ascomycotina) causes the ‘ergot’
disease of rye. The members of ‘rust’ (Puccinia) and ‘smut’ (Ustilago, Tilletia, etc.) are also highly destructive to various different crop plants like wheat, maize, oct, barley etc. Many fungi cause immense loss to timber trees by causing wood-rot disease.
iii) Induce diseases of animals and human being: Fungi are responsible for the diseases of animals as well as human beings. Some of the serious diseases of human being, i.e. the diseases of skin, far, throat, nose and as well as bronchial and intestinal disorders are caused by various groups of fungi.
A few species of Mucor and Rhizopus are common fungi infecting lungs, brain and gastric system, Neurospora and Fusarium infect corneal tissue of eye. Several species of Aspergillus are human pathogens, causing a group of diseases collectively called Aspergilloses.
iv) Toxic substances obtained from fungi: Several toxins have been extracted from mushroom like Amantia phalloides, Aspergillus flavous and Aspergillus niger may infest dried foods and ground out meal and produce a dangerous toxins called aflatoxin– this toxin has carginogenic effect.
v)Wood-rotting fungi: Many wood rotting fungi e.g. a few species of Lentinus, Serpula lacrymans, Coniophora cerebella,etc. cause a great monetary loss. Dry rot and wet rot are most dangerous diseases of the timber.
vi)Fungi growing in Aircraft fuel tanks: Amorphotheca resinae is the main organism of the kerosene-based fuel tanks of aircrafts. This fungus grows in storage and fuel tanks profusely as a result fungal hyphae may plug the valves and pipes of the aircraft and cause disastrous effect during flight.