Science Article : Use of Algae & Fungi in Everyday Life, Some Memorable Facts
- Agar, which is used as a culture medium in growing microorganism in laboratory is obtained from red algae Gracilaria & Gelidium. Agar is also used in food & pharmaceutical industries.
- Chorella is a green algae rich in proteins & vitamins and is considered as one of the possible food source for human beings.
- Carrageenan which is used in dairy Industry is obtained from Chondrus crispus which is a red algae. It is also used in Cosmetics industry.
- Alginic Acid which is used as an stabilizer & thickening agent is obtained from brown algae Sargassum and Laminaria.
- Both alginic acid and carageenan are cell wall polysaccharides.
- Laminaria is a rich source of Iodine, which is a major microelement required in human being to prevent disease of thyroid gland.
- Cells walls of fossil diatoms is a raw material source for preparation of Dynamite. The cell wall of diatoms contain silica.
- Ulva , Porphyra and Laminaria algae are used as a source of food.
- An antibiotic chorellin is obtained from Chorella.
- Acetabularia which is a green algae has been widely used in biological experiments which decided the role of nucleus in control of cell activities.
- Chorella and Scendesmus have also been used for bacterial decomposition of sewage.
- Red rust of tea is caused by cepheleuros virescence.
- Waterblooms which are found on the surface of stagnant water are formed by blue green algae such as Anabaena, Microcystis, Oscillatoria.
- Chlaymidomonas nivalis which is a Green Algae causes “ Red Snow” .
- “Fouling” which is caused on the bottoms and sides of ships are caused by some algae.
- “Red Sea” which is a part of Mediterranean sea is “Red” because of blue green algae “Trichodesmium” which has presence of phycoerythrin pigment in its cells.
- Potash is obtained from Macrocystis and Nereocystis.
- The blue green algae Sargassum is abundant in the Sargasso sea of Atlantic.
- The most commonly cultivated fungi (mushroom ) is Agaricus compestris.
- Yeasts are fungi and they are rich source of Vitamin B Complex.
- Penicillin which was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1929 is obtained from fungi Penicillum notatum.
- The plant growth hormones indole acetic acid was isolated from Rhizopus niger.
- Another plant growth hormone Gibberellic acid was obtained (isolated) from Gibberella fujikuroi.
- Some strains of Aspergillus niger are used in the manufacture of citric acid.
- Yeasts due to their ability to ferment sugar are used in wine and bread industry (bakery).
- Morchella is an species of edible mushroom.
- Ergot disease in rye , wheat, barley and oat are called by Claviceps purpurea which is a fungi.
- LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) which is a hallucinogen is obtained from Claviceps purpurea.
- Aflatoxins are toxic substances produced by fungi.
- Smut disease is caused by a fungi Ustilago.
- Rust disease is commonly caused by another fungi Puccinia.
- Athlete’s foot or “Foot Ringworm” is caused by a fungi Trichophyton interdigitale.
- Late blight of Potato which caused a disastrous femine of Ireland in 1845 was caused by Fungi only. The fungi which causes late blight of potato is Phytophthora infestens. Early blight of Potato is another disease which is caused by Alternaria solani. Please note that Solanum means potato which represents solanaceae family in Botany.
- Pulmonary Aspergillosis is a disease very much similar to TB is caused by Aspergillus fungi.
- All types of food stuffs like pickle, breads etc. are spoiled by Mucor, Rhizopus & Aspergillus which are various strains of fungi.
- Leaf spot or tikka disease of groundnut is caused by a fungus Cercospora personata.