The fungi kingdom

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  1. Fungi kingdom as a source of medicine introduction
  2. Antibiotic from fungus farming ants
  3. Using fungi to control malaria
fungi kingdom



The fungi kingdom belongs to one of the five kingdoms of life. Fungi are organisms which are similar to plants, but are actually closer to humans.

Fungi do not contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a pigment which permits plants to turn sunlight into fungi. There is an esimated 1.5 million species of fungi.

Fungus can be good or bad, they cause diseases in humans, animal and plants on the other hand they play a vital role in life on earth. It's the good that I am focusing on this page and upcoming pages.

Antibiotic from fungus farming ants


Fungi are a great source for humans as medicine and food. Fungi are used to make antibiotics and their use in herbal medicine. See the origins of herbal medicine.

One such interesting story is the story of the leaf cutter fungus farming ants. The fungi and ants depend on each other for survival.

Dr Matt Hutchings from the University of East Anglia, along with the John Innes centre conducted research on fungus farming ants.

The research showed that the fungus farming ants used antibiotics to control unwanted bacteria and fungus growth in their fungus farm which is used to feed their queen and larvae.

More interestingly the researchers discovered a new antibiotic which could be employed to treat fungus infections. Dr Hutchings said

"It's also very exciting that ants not only evolved agriculture before humans but also combination therapy with natural antibiotics.

Humans are just starting to realize that this is one way to slow down the rise of drug resistant bacteria - the so called superbugs."

In the video shown below biologist Nicole Gerardo from Emory University gives a tour of the fungus growing ants.

Using fungi to control malaria


Research from the imperial college and university of Edinburgh suggests that using fungi to infect mosquitoes while they consuming food can reduce malaria drastically.

In the laboratory malaria was reduced by 98%, most of the mosquitoes died prior to becoming infectious.

Dr Matt Thomas said "There is no evidence that insects can develop resistance to fungi."

In the video below mycologist Nina Jenkins from Pennsylvania State University explains the process of making a fungal spore-laced spray which can be used to help fight the spread of malaria.

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