What Are the Advantages of Fungi?

Fungi play an essential role in ecosystems. They are responsible for the decomposition of organic matter; removing and recycling the organic matter on the ground, thus providing nutrients and food for plants, according to the Rainforest Conservation Fund. Additionally, fungi are responsible for nitrogen fixation within the soil.

Within the biosphere, fungi play an essential role as the primary decomposers and recyclers of nutrients. Fungi are present and play this role in all of Earth’s habitats. Without fungi, plants would lose their primary source of nutrients, organic matter recycled by fungi. Fungi also play mutualistic roles with a variety of other types of organisms.

Nitrogen fixation is another important contribution of fungi within ecosystems, according to the journal Science. Nitrogen fixation by fungi has been shown to contribute to the biomass of leaf-cutter ants as part of a symbiotic relationship.

Fungi are known to form mutualistic relationships with cyanobacteria and green algae, thus forming lichens. Similar mutualistic relationships are formed with a variety of different types of insects. The positive contributions of these bacteria and insects show the advantageous roles that fungi play in the biosphere.

While some fungi cause diseases in humans, others significantly and positively impact our ability to survive by recycling nutrients and producing plant food from detritus and soil.