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Is fungi used in medicine?

Last updated date: 16th Jun 2024
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Hint:Fungi are groups of saprophytic organisms that reproduce through spores. Fungi are one of the most important groups of organisms on the planet in terms of population and ecological role as they serve as food and medicinal values.

Complete answer:
The antibiotic or antibacterial can be defined as a huge range of drugs which are used to kill or inhibit the growth of the microorganisms, which cause the infections. The antibiotics are usually provided in the case of bacterial infections when the body's immune system alone cannot fight the infections.

The penicillin is also a type of antibiotic which is developed from a fungus called as Penicillium notatum. It had been discovered in the late 19th century when a Scottish scientist, Alexander Fleming was working with the influenza virus in London. Fleming went on a two-week holiday and when he returned, he found that a mold had developed on his accidentally contaminated staphylococcus culture plate.

When he observed and examined the culture plate, he saw that the mold doesn't allow the staphylococci to grow. Although it had been an opportunity discovery within the field of medicines, it helped to cure many diseases.
Penicillium: Important characters :
i) Facultative parasite and saprophytic fungi
ii) Mycelium is branched septate, with simple septal pore and every cell is uni or multinucleate depending upon the Species.
iii) Asexual reproduction occurs by conidia. Conidiophores are often branched. The first branch level is named rami and second or ultimate branches are called metulae having bottle shaped sterigmata. Each sterigmata produces a chain of conidia. The conidia in chains are arranged in basipetal order. Each conidium is uninucleate, non-motile, two layered, dispersed by air and germinates to form new mycelium.
iv) Sexual reproduction: It exhibits dikaryophase and produces ascocarp. The ascocarp is cleistothecium type. Each ascus has 8 ascospores. Ascospore germinates to form new mycelium.

Penicillium notatum may be a fungus belonging to the Ascomycota group. It is found in areas with moist soils or damp waters. It also grows on stored foods and feeds on dead decaying matter. so, fungi is used to serve as medicine.

Note:Penicillin is used for the treatment of gram- positive bacteria that usually cause pneumonia, gonorrhea, wounds, bacterial fevers etc. it is also used in the treatment of the plant diseases which occur in apples, trees, grapes and tomatoes.