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  • symboints: fungi and molds in buildings and their envelopes

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    Fungi as symbions

    Fungi can also enter into close associations with other microbes and with higher plants and animals. These beneficial associations are termed symbioses.

    This is some examples (from

    Fungus-root symbioses

    These associations are common on plant roots, and are termed termed mycorrhizae. Their presence enhances plant root plant performance and nutrient uptake. The fungal association can be external to or within the root tissue. These associations are seen on the roots of forest tress, shrubs and herbaceous species like grasses.

    Fungus leaf symbioses

    Fungi can occur within leaves or stems as symptomless infections. These fungi are called endophytes. They live almost all their life cycle within the host, grow very slowly whilst the organ they colonize is alive, and do not cause any signs of infection. They may protect their host from animal grazing or other pathogenic fungal infection by the production of metabolites. However, these products can have dramatic effects on herbivorous animals, causing symptoms of fungal toxicosis similar to St. Anthony's Fire.

    Fungus-alga symbioses

    Some fungi can form slow-growing, very intimate associations with algal species. These associations are called Lichens. They are adapted to occupy extreme or marginal environments, like bare rock faces, walls and house roofs. They are highly sensitive to pollution because they are under quite extreme environmental pressure, and their presence in an environment has become a useful indicator of a lack of urban and industrial pollution.

    Fungus insect symbioses

    Fungi can also associate with insect species. Some species of ants culture specific fungi on plant remains they bring to their nests. The ants can then browse on the fungal mycelium that develop on the chewed leaves. Termites have symbiotic fungi within their guts, which, in association with a consortium of other microbes, help the termite digest its woody gut contents.

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    Essay: References for mold and fungi studies

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