[ Hanafiee Azlee, 28th August 2022 ] Okay yes, I’ve covered multiple angles about plants and their leafy side and beautiful flowers! We often look and search for all things beautiful in life, that consists of colorful petals and leaves. However, upon reading and writing blogs for Urban Salvation, I realize that I never really touch on the fungi kingdom, one of the vital ecosystems that lives and breathes together with us! Yep, that includes your enoki mushroom and other edible mushrooms you can find in your soup or your carbonara pasta. However, there are sayings that some fungi are poisonous if you were to consume or even touch them! Nature is so interesting. A beautiful killer I would say. Well, let’s get to know more about them, shall we?
Let us jump all the way back to the first colonization of fungi. They were found 2,400 million years ago, during the Proterozoic period, where most multicellular life began to form and expand through the landscape of the earth. From a microscopic view to the tangible fungi we see on our day to day life, it is always a curious wonder, how they managed to evolve as the day passes by.
But here’s the question, is Fungi a plant or is it an animal?
This question has been circulating around the conscious mind for quite sometimes! The answer is neither! Fungi is neither a plant nor an animal. It is just Fungi. They form their own kingdom and they thrive by the way they have been living ever since they made their presence known! Fungi does not photosynthesize like plants nor does it ingest and absorb food like animals! Fungi actually dwell inside the food they consume and emit enzymes to break down the nutrients.
This kingdom includes a variety of unicellular and multicellular creatures that exist in marine, freshwater, desert, and both young and old environments on Earth. It also includes yeasts, molds, mushrooms, wood-ears or conks. In essence, a chanterelle and a morel are as connected as an elephant and a flea. While the former are fungi, the latter are both animals. A posterior flagellum-equipped cell called an Opisthokont which is like a human spermatozoids, is what makes fungi more closely linked to us mammals than to plants.
Now, have we ever thought about what if the world we live in has no fungi AT ALL?
Most plants need fungi to survive since they can't survive without water. There wouldn't be any farms for you to eat from or forests for you to wander through. Without the fungi in their gut, herbivorous animals like cows are unable to digest grass. Going back to our dinner table, as yeasts are required for fermentation, the absence of fungi would prevent the production of bread, chocolate, soy sauce, beer, or wine. Hence, we were grateful to have mushrooms for dinner. There goes our hiking plan or even a dinner date with our loved ones.
Benefits of fungi
Food for humans: Many fungi, including mushrooms, are consumed by people all over the world. According to research, the majority of edible fungi have a variety of healthy therapeutic characteristics that support a healthy immune system and illness prevention.
Decomposition: A variety of fungus are capable of reintroducing nutrients to the environment by decomposing the remains of dead plants and animals.
Diseases: Ranging from external issue to internal problems, Fungi is infamously known for its deadly side effect when either come intact with an open wound or organs liSeveral fungi are hazardous and can lead to life-threatening diseases. Fungi frequently cause various diseases of the skin and nails.
Food spoilage: It all begins with fungi and it all ends with it. As soon as fungus begins to develop on food, it begins to spoil the food that it is infected on and begins to slowly use the spoilt food as a form of platform to further expand & sustain its lifespan. Hence, we usually see fungi growing on food whenever they have hit the expiry date!
We always tend to see the huge wonders of Nature that are commonly documented on Instagram or Youtube but we rarely notice the smallest wonders of Nature that can be seen literally everywhere around our environment!