To talk about mycology we must first talk about fungi , these are eukaryotic microorganisms that can appear as yeasts , molds or as a combination of both forms. Some of them are capable of causing diseases superficial, cutaneous, subcutaneous, systemic or allergic. Mycology involves the study of fungi , their relationships, and the biochemistry that distinguishes them from other groups. They are eukaryotic organismsbelonging to their own kingdom, they are a separate lineage from eukaryotic organisms, distinguished by their unique cell wall made of chitin and glucans that often surrounds multinucleated cells. Mycology is a necessary branch of biology because fungi are considerably different from plants and animals .
What is mycology?
Mycology is the complex and extensive study that analyzes all the types of fungi that exist and everything that is related to them, from their form , feeding , reproduction and ways of appearance.
- Definition of mycology
- What do you study
- What is it for
- Branches of mycology
- Featured mycologists
- Books on mycology
Definition of mycology
Mycology is an important part of the branch of botany which is responsible for the study of fungi in all their names , forms and origins . Remember that fungi are decomposers of dead matter both in animals and in plants, which are responsible through this process of forming nutrients for the soil and for themselves. In other words, it is a branch of microbiology , which focuses on scientific and technological research of this type of plant organism. It also involves the analysis of the different diseases that man and animals can suffer that are produced by consumption or interaction with fungi.
What do you study
Mycology is responsible for studying not only fungi but also the behavior of flora and fauna that have not yet been studied, as well as studying a catalog of fungi or mushrooms as if it is edible or medically useful . Many of the scientists assure that they also study people who have been infected or who have become ill due to some type of fungus that is considered harmful to health. And there is also the case of mycology that studies the different substancesfound in fungi, those tiny substances that can only be seen under the eye of a microscope . Currently, mycology is defined depending on the field of research and development that are based on fungi .
For many scientists, fungi have existed for millions of years, even before humans. In fact they have been the main beings that were found inhabiting the planet during the Cambrian Era and have played a very important role for various cultures . In ancient times, the Greeks used them for many of their activities without actually knowing their functions, for example, they were used in the fermentation of alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer.
In the Roman Empire we can also find a record of fungi that were perfectly identified . In a writing dating from the 1st century AD, the Lactarius Deliciosuso Níscalo is seen as the main protagonist of an event, where Agrippina was poisoned by Emperor Claudio, her husband, when he placed a deadly Amanita in his daily dose of Amanitas caesareas phalloides .
Mushrooms have also played an important role in the formation of religions as they were used as psychotropics that altered the state of consciousness and to manipulate the actions carried out by people. We can mention the shamans , who used mushrooms to make people hallucinate while they performed the rituals . They were also worshiped in ancient times because it was considered that they were the creation of the gods or that they came from other planets .
What is it for
Mycology has several uses, in addition to looking for new species of fungi , it is also dedicated to studying the different interactions of fungi with human beings, the way in which they can help in their daily life and the way in which they they can also make people sick .
Branches of mycology
Among the branches of mycology we can mention the following:
- Medical mycology : it deals with the properties of each of the species of fungi that have the possibility of being used for medicinal purposes , with the aim of treating diseases that directly affect humans and animals .
- To discover species because science has been used to find species never seen before, for example, there are scientists who go into humid or rotten places to find new species.
- Pharmaceutical mycology : it is dedicated to the study of fungi to find new species that can be used in the kitchen , such as the mushroom, which for centuries has been used in some culinary preferences.
Mycology is a very important branch mainly when we refer to the medical area because it is through it that it has been possible to discover and establish fields of study for fungi, to be able to evaluate and know the types of poisonings , allergies and mycoses that they can become produced by fungi, and thus establish the necessary treatments to avoid damage to health.
The main mycologists that have existed in history have been:
- Alejandro Posadas , who managed to discover a fungus called Coccidioides immitis.
- Guillermo Seeber who discovered the fungus that we know today as Rhinosporidium seeberi.
- Adolpho Lutz a scientist from Brazil who indicated the existence of a fungus called Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, which was responsible for many systemic mycoses in Brazil.
- Rino Pou , who managed to build a specialized laboratory in the branch of mycology in Venezuela, which managed to help in important advances in the area.
Books on mycology
We find a great diversity of literature related to mycology, among which we mention:
- Illustrated medical mycology
- The Atlas of Medical Mycology
- Veterinary mycology
- Basic medical mycology
- Introduction to mycology in the tropics
- Clinical mycology
Some examples of fungi that have been discovered with mycology are:
- The common mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus).
- Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum).
- Turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor).
- The “Indian Bread” (Cyttaria harioti).
- The huitlacoche or cuitlacoche (Ustilago maydis).