Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon

Economic Importance of Fungi

share icon
share icon

Introduction to Fungi

We all have seen the growth of fungi on some of the food items when they left outside. This growth of fungi ruins the food and it becomes unsuitable for consumption. But did you know that the growth of fungi is very important for the occurrence of some processes? Have you heard that fungi play an important role in the medical and agriculture industries? You all got shocked with this fact but fungi have many economic importance in our daily life.

In this article, we are going to see the economic importance of fungi and how fungi play an essential role in medicine, agriculture and other industries.

What is Fungi?

Fungi is defined as one of the five kingdom classification of living organisms. It includes microorganisms such as yeast and moulds. They are cosmopolitan and occur in air, water, soil and on animals and plants. Some fungi cause diseases in plants and animals whereas some are used for different economic purposes.

Examples of Fungi

The most common examples of fungi which are used for different beneficial purposes include yeast which is used to make bread and beer, penicillium which is used in antibiotics and mushroom which is consumed as a food item. Some fungi which cause diseases in plants and animals include puccinia which causes wheat rust.

Importance of Fungi

Fungi is one of the important kingdoms of microorganisms because of the following benefits of it.

  • It is used in medical industries for the production of different medicines.

  • It is used in the agricultural industry for the enhancement of crop quality and production.

  • It plays an important role in the release of different gases in the atmosphere.

  • It is also essential for different household purposes.

  • It also plays an economically important role in recycling processes.

  • It is used for the production of different food items.

Role of Fungi in Medicine

Fungi plays an essential role in the production of medicines and is very helpful to cure various health issues. Some of the commonly used fungi include:

  • The antibiotic penicillin is produced from the fungi penicillium.

  • Micafungin is used as an antifungal agent.

  • Mycophenolate is a fungi which is used to prevent tissue rejection.

  • Rosuvastatin is a fungi which has found uses in reducing cholesterol.

  • Aspergillus niger is used for the synthesis of different steroids.

Role of Fungi in Agriculture

Fungi also find uses in various agricultural activities and plays an important role in the following:

  • Fungi has the ability to decompose the organic matter in the soil which leads to the increase in its nutritional quality.

  • They decrease the amount of nitrogen in the soil by converting it to protein for plants.

  • Fungi form a symbiotic relationship with plants known as mycorrhizae through which plants obtain phosphorus and other essential minerals.

  • Fungi produce various bioactive metabolites which help in the improvement of plant growth.

  • Some important fungi in the agriculture industry are Fusarium, Chaetomium, Chytridium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus.

Importance of Fungi in Agriculture

Fungi are important for agriculture and they are responsible for

  • Decomposition of organic matter in soil.

  • Release of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon and phosphorus in the soil.

  • Production of different enzymes in soil.

  • Enhancement of plant growth.

  • Prevent plants from different pathogens.

Economic Importance of Fungi

Other than medicinal and agricultural benefits, fungi also have some economic benefits. Some of the important economic benefits of fungi are given below.

  • There are some edible fungi such as mushrooms which provide different essential nutrients like vitamins, amino acids and lipids.

  • The most common fungi yeast is used in the production of bread and beer.

  • A free living fungi named trichoderma sps. are present in the root ecosystem to act against plant pathogens.

  • Some species of fungi penicillium is used to produce roquefort and camembert cheese.

  • Fungi are also used in the commercial production of different enzymes and organic acids.

Economically Important Fungal Organisms

Some common economically important fungi are

  • Yeast

  • Penicillium

  • Mushroom

  • Moulds

  • Rusts

  • Truffles

  • Boletes

  • Smuts

  • Puffballs

Interesting Facts

  • Fungi is a kingdom but they resemble more animals than plants

  • Fungi have the capability to break down plastic waste.

Important Questions

1. What are the common important applications of fungi?

Ans: The common important applications of fungi are-

  • Eaten as a food

  • Used in medicines

  • Used for edible items

2. Which is the most common fungus used for the production of antibiotics?

Ans: The antibiotic penicillin is produced from the fungi penicillium

3. Name some economically important fungi.

Ans: Some of the economically important fungi are-

  • Yeast

  • Penicillium

  • Mushroom

  • Moulds

  • Rusts

Key Features

  • Fungi is a kingdom of microorganisms which includes yeast and moulds.

  • They find various applications in medical industries such as penicillin is made from a fungi penicillium.

  • It is also used in agricultural industries for the enhancement of crop quality and nutrients in the soil.

  • Some specific fungi also help in the improvement of plant growth.

  • The most common economical uses of fungi include production of bread, beer, cheese, enzymes and organic acids, and in food such as mushroom.

  • Some of the common examples of fungi include yeast, penicillium and mushroom.

Want to read offline? download full PDF here
Download full PDF
Is this page helpful?

FAQs on Economic Importance of Fungi

1. What is the economic importance of fungi in agriculture?

In agriculture, fungi is used for,

  • Protecting from plant pathogens.

  • Increasing nutritive components in soil.

  • Supporting plant growth.

  • Release of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon and phosphorus in the soil. 

  • Producing different enzymes and organic acids. 

  • Maintaining natural pH balance.

2. What are the five benefits of fungi?

The five important uses of fungi are as follows:

  • It is used in different medical processes. 

  • It is used in various agricultural practices. 

  • It plays an important role in the atmosphere. 

  • It finds uses in economic activities. 

  • It is used in numerous household processes. 

3. Why are fungi so important?

Fungi is important for us because

  • They break down organic matter and release useful gases.

  • They are used to produce different daily used products

  • They are used in medicines

  • They are eaten for different essential nutrients

Competitive Exams after 12th Science