Fungi straddle the realms of microbiology and macrobiology.
Some fungi are quite useful to us. We've tapped several kinds to make antibiotics to fight bacterial infections. These antibiotics are based on natural compounds the fungi produce to compete against bacteria for nutrients and space. We use Saccharomyces cerevisiae (sack-air-oh-my... Read More
There are some nasty fungi that cause diseases in plants, animals and people. One of the most famous is Phytophthora infestans (fie-tof-thor-uh in-fes-tuhns), which caused the Great Potato Famine in Ireland in the mid-1800s that resulted in a million deaths. See the Read More
Fungi can be found in rising bread, moldy bread, and old food in the refrigerator, and on forest floors. Most decompose non-living things, but some damage crops and plants. A few cause problems in people, such as Candida, which causes yeast infections.... Read More
As the “humongous fungus” shows, fungi can grow to enormous mass if unimpeded.
Hyphae grow by adding cells at the tip. Hyphae are very tiny, measuring only a few microns in diameter in some cases. But they can also be incredibly strong, punching through not only the soft membranes of animal ... Read More
Water molds are always found in wet environments, especially in fresh water sources and near the upper layers of moist soil.
A virus is basically a tiny bundle of genetic material—either DNA or RNA—carried in a shell called the viral coat, or capsid, which is made up of bits of protein called capsomeres. Some viruses have an additional layer around this coat called an envelope. That's basically all there is to viru... Read More
In the deepest sea, where not a single photon of sunlight ever penetrates, life persists in eternal darkness, crowded around chemical- and lava-spewing fissures in the ocean’s floor. Life around these hydrothermal vents includes shrimp, crabs, and tall, slender tubeworms.... Read More
The Partnerships That Led to Higher Life
If you could peer deep into one of the many cells in your body, you’d see little blobs, squiggles, and coils. These are the cel... Read More
Lichens: When Fungi and Algae (or Cyanobacteria) Merged
Fungi feed themselves quite ably, absorbing nutrients from organic materials. Algae and cyanobacteria are also adept at providing for their own nutritional needs by turning sunlight into energy through photosynthesis.
Y... Read More
Microbiologists perform a wide range of jobs and activities, and the tools they use are just as diverse. The instruments and techniques that microbiologists use range from the simplest to the most complex.