Over two hundred thousand different kinds of fungi have been identified by scientists over the course of history, and most believe that this is only a fraction of the actual number of fungi species in our world. Some figures go as far as to suggest that there are over two million kinds of fungi in our environment. Different kinds of fungi are normally identified and distinguished by the structure of their bodies as well as by the type and arrangement of the spores which they produce.
– Some kinds of fungi are not even visible to the naked eye. These microscopic species are commonly referred to as microfungi. A fairly significant minority of fungi, however, are visible to the naked eye. They come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. If fungi have enough fruiting bodies, they are visible to human beings. The four general categories of fungi are Ascomycota, Zygomycota, Basidiomycota and Deuteromycota.
– Yeasts, mildews, and edible fungi such as the truffle all come under the general category of Ascomycota fungi. These are largely responsible for various herbal diseases such as chestnut blight, Dutch elm disease and apple scab. These fungi are able to engage in sexual and asexual reproduction.Â It is estimated that a total of 50,000 different species exist within this category, from which approximately half occur solely in lichens.
– Zygomycota fungi are soil-living sarprobes that feed on dead plant and animal remains. Some of these kinds of fungi are parasites that have attached themselves onto insects or plants. These fungi are able to reproduce sexually, and in doing so, they form zygospores. There are no distinguishable females or males in this category of fungi. Zygomycota fungi are normally the fungi that form on bread molds.
– Basidiomycota fungi are visibly different from other kinds of fungi in the sense that they normally consist of two different hyphae that merge together to constitute a mycelium in which both nuclei are distinguishable from each other. Basidiomycota fungi include almost all species of mushrooms, rust on plants and puffballs.
– Deuteromycota are kinds of fungi that cannot be placed in any of the other three categories. These are normally distinguishable under the pretext that they do not have any sexually reproductive features and hence reproduce asexually. Various exotic cheeses are produced with the help of these fungi. Deuteromycota is commonly responsible for various diseases including ringworm and athleteâ€™s foot. Some scientists believe that Deuteromycota are just a young stage of Ascomycota that have yet to develop sexually reproductive features.
Despite the fact that the various kinds of fungi serve an immensely significant purpose in ensuring the life cycle, it is important to be wary of their drawbacks. If most species of fungi are able to find their way into the human system, they can create havoc on all fronts. That is why doctors are adamant about people washing their hands before eating meals, and not eating food that was prepared a long time ago or left outside in the heat.