What does mycology study?

who studies mycology

Biology is often considered one of the largest and most complex sciences in existence today, an idea often associated with the discipline's scholarly and investigative approach, which differs somewhat from other fundamental sciences, should be a combination of fields of study and multiple scientific specializations to explain or initiate the basis of a particular topic. In this case we are going to analyze for mycology which is a branch of biology. many people wonder what does mycology study.

For this reason, we are going to dedicate this article to telling you what studies mycology, what are its characteristics and areas of research.

what is mycology

mushroom study

Broadly speaking, mycology can be defined as the branch of biology in charge of the study of fungi. Contrary to popular belief, fungi are not and should not be classified as plants. In fact, far from reality, fungi can be defined as eukaryotic organisms that have chitinous cell walls and are heterotrophs, that is, they cannot produce their own food due to a lack of chlorophyll or similar compounds.

They are generally classified into two forms: yeasts or yeast-like fungi (single-celled organisms) and filamentous fungi (multicellular organisms). In addition to the fact that, unlike animals and plants, fungi do not have true tissue, that is, in the vast majority of fungi, their bodies are made up of rows of filaments (hyphae) that grow as they grow, bifurcate to form a fungal body (mycelium), so they do not have differentiated organs or structures like other eukaryotes.

Their reproduction is mainly through spores, which play a vital role as decomposers of organic matter (like bacteria). Among the most famous groups we can highlight yeasts, fungi and molds. Due to these characteristics, fungi are classified in a different taxon from plants and animals, appropriately belonging to the kingdom Fungi.

On this basis, many authors consider mycology as an additional pillar of research in biological sciences, however, many times mycology is addressed in part by principles of botany and microbiology due to certain relationships and kinship with other fields of study.

What does mycology study?

who studies mycology as a science

Mycology can be defined as the branch of biology in charge of the study of fungi, studying their taxonomic and anatomical, physiological and evolutionary characteristics, and their respective importance in ecosystems.

For practical purposes, fungal research has actively contributed to two key areas: health sciences and agriculture. In fact, from the beginning a specialty known as medical mycology was formed.

Medical mycology is generally defined as the branch of mycology concerned with the study of the impact and importance of certain fungi in terms of their interactions with humans. As such, it focuses on the study of poisonous, parasitic or allergenic fungi, as well as fungi that actively contribute to the development of new drugs or facilitate or contribute to the treatment of specific pathological mechanisms.

In summary, this field of study evaluates the diagnosis of hypersensitivity to spores (allergies), mycotoxicity (ingestion of fungi), mycoses (infections caused by superficial, subcutaneous or systemic fungi in the body) and other types of allergies. Treats and prevents fungal infections. Likewise, he has also focused on the development of drugs or treatments based on fungi, the most prominent example being the use of penicillin.

Based on the agricultural aspect, mushroom cultivation, also known as mushroom cultivation, occupies a prominent place in the field of economics, Since some mushrooms are cultivated for food and culinary production purposes due to their respective nutritional properties and different flavors, mushrooms and truffles are the most famous examples in this field.

In turn, this field also focuses on the cultivation and use of certain fungi (such as yeast) to ferment foods and beverages (such as bread or beer), which can also be observed in certain types of cheese made from of fungal fermentation.

Mycology in some countries

basket with mushrooms

Finally, in some countries mushrooms have a certain importance in the social and cultural field since they are marketed, cultivated and used for psychostimulant purposes. Due to their unique properties, hallucinogenic mushrooms are of interest to research fields in various disciplines, Among which we can highlight anthropology, psychology or neurology, since despite being considered the first hallucinogenic substances used by humans, their neurological effects are still being evaluated and studied. impact in the short, medium and long term.

It is important to emphasize that the cultivation and consumption of this mushroom is currently penalized in some countries, and if you are more interested in this area, it is recommended that you look for the legal department in your area.

How do you study

Like other specialties in biology, the academic field of mycology is fully covered by the five years of study corresponding to the degree in biology and their respective specialization in the field of botany and, failing that, in the field of microbiology.

However, there are also some university institutions, due to their specialization in the scientific field, that focus on offering graduates in biological sciences the field of mycology as a line of designation, specialization or postgraduate.

branches of mycology

Medical mycology

It is the study of animal and human diseases caused by fungi. Fungal infections affect many people around the world and in some cases can be very serious. In this field, aspects such as the behavior of pathogens, life cycle and host responses.

The route of infection and the symptoms of fungal diseases are studied. The immune response has also been studied and possible treatments have been suggested.

agricultural mycology

Agricultural mycology is the study of fungi useful for agriculture. These organisms are part of the soil biota and are essential for plant development.

There is a whole field of research in the field of mycorrhizal formation (association of roots and fungi). This symbiosis is very important to maintain plants naturally. In addition, they are widely used in agriculture to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.

Phytopathology

Phytopathology is one of the most developed branches of mycology. Study diseases caused by fungi in plants. A large proportion of fungi are plant pests, most causing serious disease. These fungal diseases are responsible for massive losses in agriculture.

In this field, the pathogens that cause diseases and the symptoms that occur in plants are studied. On the other hand, treatment and management plans are proposed to avoid the great damage caused by the infestation of these fungi.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about what mycology studies and what its characteristics are.


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