Researchers recently discovered a new fungus species in Kerala named Trichoglossum syamviswanathii.
- Trichoglossum is a genus of fungus classified within the family Geoglossaceae (Ascomycota), commonly known as “hairy earth tongues” fungus due to their numerous filaments resembling mushrooms.
- They are black, dark, or brown in colour.
- They exhibit saprotrophic behavior but can also be found as endophytes in plant roots.
- 55 Trichoglossum genera have been identified globally. Of these, 21 are recognized species.
- They are globally distributed in tropical and temperate forests at least five out of seven continents of the world.
- They play a critical role in the decomposition of organic matter.
Key Facts about Fungi:
- Fungi, along with Animalia (animals), Plantae (plants), Protista, Archaea/Archaebacteria, and Bacteria or Eubacteria,form the six ‘kingdoms’ of biology.
- They are eukaryotic organisms, i.e., their cells contain membrane-bound organelles and clearly defined nuclei.
- Reproduction: Fungi usually reproduceboth sexually and asexually.
o Fungi are either terrestrial or aquatic, the latter living in freshwater or marine environments.
o They are found in all temperate and tropical regions of the world where there is sufficient moisture to enable them to grow.
o A few species of fungi live in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, although they are rare and are more often found living in symbiosis with algae in the form of lichens.
- Importance of fungi:
o They help in breaking down dead organic material; they continue the cycle of nutrients through ecosystems.
o Fungi, as food, play a role in human nutrition in the form of mushrooms.
o They also act as agents of fermentation in the production of bread, cheeses, alcoholic beverages, and numerous other food preparations.
o Secondary metabolites of fungi are used as medicines, such as antibiotics and anticoagulants.
Q1: What are saprotrophs?
Saprotrophs, also known as saprophytes, are organisms that obtain their nutrients by decomposing and absorbing organic matter from dead or decaying organisms. These organisms play a vital role in breaking down complex organic compounds into simpler forms, facilitating the recycling of nutrients in ecosystems.