Parasitic fungi

The parasitic species transmit diseases and form relations with other organisms, in which the fungus benefits from the association and damages the host organism (human beings and plants). Such fungi as Endothia parasitica, Ceratocystis ulmi, Puccinia sparganioides, Puccinia graminis are parasites of plants, while fungi of the genus Aspergillus or Candida albicans carry infections to the human organisms.
Plant parasites
Devastating effects have been observed in the forests due to the spread of two different diseases: the “powdery mildew”, that affects chestnut trees (Endothia parasitica), and the “dry disease”, that affects elms (Ceratocystis ulmi). Not to mention the damages caused by such fungi as rusts and smuts to the harvests of the whole world. Some rusts, such as Puccinia sparganioides, need several host plants to complete their life cycle: in temperate climates, they spend the winter on the spartina, while in spring they produce small spores that the wind carries away to make them sprout on the new leaves of the nearby ashes. The “boil smut” damages the crops, even if Mexicans consider it a delicacy.
Human parasites
About one hundred of the thousands of known species of fungi are pathogenic to man, causing infections that are called mycoses. A large part of mycoses is transmitted through inhalation, ingestion or the infection of skin wounds and attack the skin, hairs, nails and mucosa. When inhaled, the spores of the genus Aspergillus transmit a serious lung infection, Aspergillosis, while the mycoses of the skin, hairs and nails are called tineas. The mouth, the digestive and the reproductive systems can be infected by the genus Candida albicans; in new-born children, this infection is called thrush and causes white patches on the mouth mucosa.

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From the Multimedia section

Facts

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