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Fungi are truly a kingdom of their own! These multicellular organisms are one of earth's wonders in more than one way. Fungi are the decomposers of the earth and with their help we are able to treat many diseases both in the hospital and the garden. For centuries mushrooms have been revered and sought after by humankind for their medicinal values [from effects] and in modern times we have observed their unique behavior with plants, insects, and other fungi.
The pure decomposers that live solely off dead and decaying matter. These fungi bring balance to the ecosystem by recycling dead and dying matter into their own biomass, allowing for the cycle of life to continue.
This group of fungi have a symbiotic relationship with plants, in which the fungi provide valuable nutrients in exchange for processed sugar from the plant!
In the insect world, fungi act as both prey and predator. Fungi are a wonderful food source for many insects, and the opposite is true as well! Entomopathogenic fungi use insects as both a food source and a vessel for dispersing their offspring.
One last group of predacious fungi are the those that prey on their own kind, consuming other fungi and controlling population in the soil. These fun guys come in handy when a disease-carrying fungus is attacking a plant!
Fantastic Fungi: The Spirit of Good
For more information, please see:
USDA Soils Resource on Fungi: http://1.usa.gov/1mepAJ9
Organic Gardening w/ Mycorrhizea: http://bit.ly/1nt1AlZ