Economic Importance of Fungi

Fungi lack the chlorophyll pigment essential for independent existence. Hence, they must get their food from other living organisms or from dead or decaying organic matter.

Economical fungi have great importance in various aspects, like increasing soil fertility, the uses of various industries, antibiotics, drugs, organic acids, and the production of enzymes, vitamins, and hormones in various academic studies.

Fungi also have harmful effects, such as spoilage of food, clothes, and papers, induced diseases in plants, animals, and even humans, production of toxin, etc.

Economic Importance of Fungi

These beneficial and harmful effects are discussed below:

1. To maintain soil fertility

The majority of the known fungi, along with bacteria, live on dead organic matter and decompose it; thereby, they help return nutrients to the soil.

These fungi also prevent many inorganic substances from being lost by leaching. Some of the soil fungi are more active in producing ammonia from proteins.

2. Role in Food Industry

The fungi are most useful in industries like baking and brewing.

Making of wines, beers, breads, and preparation of cheeses from yeasts and other fungi by fermentation process.

3. In the production of various substances

The fungi produced a variety of substances as their metabolic products, which include enzymes, alkaloids, and various other organic compounds.

Most of these substances are of great economic importance.


The amylase enzyme is produced by Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus oryzae. The enzyme invertase is obtained from Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Vitamin Production

Yeasts are the source of vitamin B complex and riboflavin.

Antibiotic Substances

Metabolic products produced by certain fungi that inhabit the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms or destroy them. These metabolic substances are called antibiotics. Antibiotics are antibacterial, antifungal, and, to some extent, antiviral substances.

Alkaloid Production

The sclerotia of the fungus Claviceps purpurea contain a number of alkaloids, which are ultimately used for stopping haemorrhage during childbirth.

4. Used as Food

Many fungi, like morels, truffles, mushrooms, etc., are useful as food. The cultivation of mushrooms started first in France. Now 60-70 mushroom species as food available in market. Mushrooms contain proteins, carbohydrates, oils, and vitamin complexes. Thus known as complete food.

In the following countries, mushrooms are used as food:

  • France: Boletus edulis, Cantharellus cibarius, Tuber melanosporum
  • Italy: Amanita caesarea, Tuber magnatum
  • America: Morels
  • Britain: Agaricus campestris
  • Rome: Morels, Puffballs

Morels (Morchella) are very important as well as nutritious. Its main species are Morchella esculenta, M. conica, M. delicoisa, M. elata, etc. Many species of Agaricus are edible. Microfungus is also used as food. Yeast contains a higher amount of vitamin B and proteins.

Animesh Sahoo
Animesh Sahoo

Animesh Sahoo is a scientific blogger who is passionate about biology, nature, and living organisms. He enjoys sharing his knowledge through his writings. During his free time, Animesh likes to try new activities, go on adventures, experiment with different biological aspects, and learn about various organisms.

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