Fungus Lecture

Fungus colonies in petri dishes

Fungus colonies in petri dishes

Microscope view of Fusarium

Microscope view of Fusarium

The first two lectures of the day were very interesting to me. We talked about fungus and how it affects plants. The teacher explained ow when a plant or its fruit is infected by mycotoxins produced by fungus can infect animals or humans when they eat the plant or fruit. Also if the animal gets infected, humans can get infected when they eat the animal. One thing we learned is it takes a lot of the mycotoxins to be deadly, but they will accumulate in your body over time. Only certain fungus produce mycotoxins and some don’t. There are three genera of fungus that we discussed in lecture today. We talked about Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium. Aspergillus and Penicillium tend to be associated with cereal, dried fruits, grapes, raisins, and oil seed products. Some Aspergillus produce aflatoxins which are the most dangerous mycotoxins. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928 on accident when experimenting with Penicillium chrysogenum. Fusarium can produce three groups of mycotoxins and they infect different types of crops. The three types are trichothecenes, zearalenone, and fumonisins. Some fungus is actually eaten, like blue cheese that has mold in it. Also there is a grey mold called tokay that grows on grapes in Hungary, and they use the molded grapes to produce the wine Aszu and Szamorodni. With all this said, fungus can be bad if it produces mycotoxins but not all fungus produces mycotoxins. So the next time you decide to cut the molded part off of some food, maybe rethink that before you eat it because the mycotoxins could spread through out the host.

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