Humans and Fungi

Key Questions

  • Answer:

    Our intracellular structure and the way we obtain energy.


    There are many differences and many similarities between fungi and humans. In basic biology, however, we can state two major facts that the both have in common when compared to other groups of living beings. The fisrt one is our intracellular structure: fungi and humans present eukaryotic cells (such as plants and protozoa), which, unlike bacteria, have a membrane protecting its nuclei. Another difference is the way we obtain our energy: both humans and fungi are heterotrophic (unlike plants, algae and some bacteria and protozoa). This means we generate energy by consuming elements in the ecossystems, or simply by feeding on other organisms, instead of producing our own food like plants do.

  • Fungi are helpful to us in the products they produce but may also be harmful for the diseases they cause.

    Helpful fungi may be edible

    • Portabella mushrooms
    • Button cap mushrooms
    • Shitake mushrooms
    • Where I live, people search for sponge fungi or morels

    Helpful fungi may produce products we can use

    • Yeast makes our bread rise
    • Fermentation creates beers, wines, other alcoholic beverages and ethanol as a gasoline additive
    • Soy sauce
    • Some of the stinky cheeses people enjoy

    Fungi are harmful as they cause disease

    • Rusts and smuts on farm crops and orchards
    • Athletes foot
    • Oral thrush
    • Yeast infections

    Last, one of fungi's most important roles, they are decomposers in the environment. Returning nutrients to the soil that were bound up in an organisms tissues...the circle of life