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Fungi of Note

  • Armillaria ostoyae (a.k.a. the honey mushroom) can grow to gargantuan proportions, like the “humongous fungus” that covers 2,200 acres in Oregon’s Malheur National Forest.
  • Ashbya gossypii is a source of vitamins, such as riboflavin.
  • Aspergillus flavus produces a poison called aflatoxin on peanuts and other crops that can make people who eat these foods sick.
  • Aspergillus niger makes enzymes used in laundry detergents and many other products, and for tanning leather.
  • Beauveria bassiana is used as a pesticide to control nuisance insects.
  • Candida albicans causes yeast infections.
  • Fusarium is a group of fungi that cause diseases in a wide range of plants.
  • Helminthosporium oryzae causes disease in rice and led to the Bengal famine of 1942.
  • Histoplasma capsulatum causes the lung disease histoplasmosis.
  • Mucor circinelloides is a filamentous fungus that produces long, thread-like filaments called hyphae that can grow to amazing lengths. M. circinelloides is used in food production to convert fatty acids into natural flavoring compounds.
  • Penicillium notatum is the mold that launched the development of antibiotics and gave us penicillin.
  • Phanerochaete chrysosporium degrades various hazardous waste compounds.
  • Puccinia chondrillina is used as a mycoherbicide to control weeds.
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae (a.k.a. baker’s yeast) makes bread rise and ferments grapes and grains.
  • Serpula lacrymans causes dry rot of wood.
  • Stachybotrys chartarum is a type of toxin-producing fungi commonly implicated in “sick building” syndrome.
  • Tolypocladium inflatum gives us cyclosporine, the first drug to prevent organ rejection in transplant patients.
  • Trichophyton rubrum causes athlete’s foot.

 

 

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