A fungus is the largest living organism on the planet earth. It is a eukaryotic, heterotrophic and unicellular organism, which differ from both plants and animals. Therefore they are grouped into a separate kingdom of fungi. They are microscopic organisms, which are very widely distributed throughout the world and there are more than 70,000 species of fungi identified, few of them are mushrooms, yeasts, moulds, morels, rusts, smuts, puffballs, truffles.
A fungus is free-living microbes, which are found in air, in water, on land, in the soil, and even on plants and animals. Their size varies greatly depending on the type of fungus. Fungi have great economic importance. There are few species of fungi which are poisonous and may cause harm to humans, while there are some edible fungi that can be eaten directly or used as a component of foods.
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Fungus as Food Source
Mushrooms and yeast, are the different food sources obtained from the fungus. These have been eaten for several thousand years, either eaten directly or used as a component of foods.
Mushrooms – There are many mushrooms species, which are edible and are cultured in many parts of the world. Mushrooms are classified as vegetables, which provide several essential nutrients and also have great health benefits as they are low in calories, and are a good source of fibre and vitamins – B. Increasing consumption of mushrooms, helps in decreasing the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality.
Yeast – There are different species of yeast which are widely used as the fermenting products in both food and beverages industries.. This was a brief introduction to Fungus, and foods made with fungi. Stay tuned with BYJU’S to know more about the Fungus, mushrooms and their nutritional benefits.