If there weren’t any mushrooms, our world would be one medium garbage dump. Mushrooms play an important role in the world by breaking down plant and animal material.
Mushrooms are fungi. Fungi are as uniquely different from plants as plants are from animals. In fact, fungi and animals are now in the same super-kingdom, Opisthokonta.
After degradation, the remains are reused by other plants and animals. Mushrooms are unable to produce their own energy to grow so they always live in relationship with other organisms.
In exchange for energy from plants, many mushroom species provide various nutrients that the plants themselves are unable to produce sufficiently.
Mushrooms can have three kinds of relationships with plants: those that clean up (saprophytes), those that kill (parasites) and those that work together (mycorrhizasymbionts).
Studies (2011) showed that mushrooms also use meat in the form of eelworms and other such creatures, to meet their nitrogen requirements!
Fungi recycle plants after they die and transform them into rich soil. If not for mushrooms and fungi, the Earth would be buried in several feet of debris and life on the planet would soon disappear.
The oldest mushroom found in amber is from 90 million years ago—a Cordyceps. Scientists recently discovered a fossil first uncovered in 1859 and named Prototaxites, dating back more than 420 million years, a time when the tallest plants were around 2 feet tall. Prototaxites was 3 feet tall laying down, but if standing was nearly 30 feet high. In either case it would be the tallest organism on land…and it was a giant fungus!
You can make beautiful colors by boiling wild mushrooms and dipping cloth in the resulting broth.
Many mushrooms grow towards light, following the sun just like plant. Unlike with plants, scientists do not yet know how mushrooms use sunlight; only that they do.
The spores of mushrooms are made of chitin, the hardest naturally-made substance on Earth. Some scientists suspect that mushroom spores are capable of space travel; a few even believe that some fungi found on Earth originally came from outer space! (Others believe that people who think this must be from outer space themselves.)
Under the right conditions, some mushrooms’ spores can sit dormant for decades or even a century, and still grow!
Mushrooms are useful not only as food and medicine; some are also being used in bioremediation, to absorb and digest dangerous substances like oil, pesticides and industrial waste, in places where they threaten the environment.
Images Credit : Unknown / collected from the internet. Credits goes to whosoever concerned.