How are fungi helpful to humans and how are they harmful?

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Fungi are helpful to us in the products they produce but may also be harmful for the diseases they cause.

Helpful fungi may be edible

  • Portabella mushrooms
  • Button cap mushrooms
  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Where I live, people search for sponge fungi or morels

Helpful fungi may produce products we can use

  • Yeast makes our bread rise
  • Fermentation creates beers, wines, other alcoholic beverages and ethanol as a gasoline additive
  • Soy sauce
  • Some of the stinky cheeses people enjoy

Fungi are harmful as they cause disease

  • Rusts and smuts on farm crops and orchards
  • Athletes foot
  • Oral thrush
  • Yeast infections

Last, one of fungi’s most important roles, they are decomposers in the environment. Returning nutrients to the soil that were bound up in an organisms tissues…the circle of life

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