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What are mushrooms?

Mushrooms are an important part of our ecosystem and have a variety of applications in the fields of nutrition, medicine and the environment. In this article, we will take a closer look at what mushrooms actually are and what role they play in our world.

Definition of fungi

Fungi are a group of organisms that are usually considered plants. However, fungi actually belong to a separate kingdom called mushrooms or mycota. Unlike plants, fungi do not have chlorophyll-producing cells and therefore cannot produce energy through photosynthesis. Instead, fungi live as saprophytic organisms that extract nutrients from dead organic material such as leaves, wood, and dead animals. Thus, fungi are neither plants nor animals. Evolutionarily, they stand between these two classifications.

Types of mushrooms

There are many different types of mushrooms, some of which are of great importance to humans. Some mushrooms are used as food, such as button mushrooms, shiitake, and portobello mushrooms. If you want to find out more about the tastiest mushrooms, click on this article.

Other mushrooms are used in medicine to treat diseases or relieve symptoms. Examples include the reishi mushroom, which is used to support the immune system, and the cordyceps mushroom, which is considered an energy booster.

Mushroom farming

Many mushrooms used in human nutrition are grown in special mushroom farms. In these farms, conditions are controlled to create optimal growing conditions for the mushrooms. Most mushrooms are grown on a type of growing medium made from various substrates such as wood, straw, grain, or coffee grounds. The fungal spores are sown on this culture medium. If certain conditions, such as temperature, humidity and light, are right, the fungi grow.

Natural growth of mushrooms

However, mushrooms grow not only in mushroom farms, but also in nature. In nature, there are many factors that can affect the growth of mushrooms. Some of the most important factors are:

  • Moisture: Mushrooms require a moist environment to grow. Some mushrooms grow in wet, mossy areas, while others grow in moist soil or near water sources.
  • Temperature: most mushrooms prefer a moderate temperature between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius. However, some species of mushrooms thrive at lower or higher temperatures.
  • Nutrients: Mushrooms require nutrients to grow. These nutrients can come from organic materials such as wood, leaves, and other plant debris.
  • Light: Most fungi prefer a dark environment, although there are some species that can grow in bright light.
  • pH: The pH of the soil or substrate can affect the growth of fungi. Most fungi prefer a slightly acidic pH between 5 and 6.5.
  • Competition: fungi compete for nutrients and habitat with other fungal species and microorganisms. When competitive pressures are high, this can affect fungal growth.
  • Humidity: Humidity can also affect the growth of fungi. Fungi need a certain level of humidity to grow, but too much humidity can lead to fungal diseases.
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