Some species of fungi produce harmful toxins that cause illness or death when eaten. Fungi are also responsible for skin infections such as ringworm and athlete's foot. Other fungi have airborne spores that cause illness and life-threatening infections, according to the Fungal Infection Trust.Continue Reading
Forms of unicellular fungi, called yeast, have the ability to become pathogenic. Candida albicans, a yeast that is normally present in the mouth, esophagus, bowel and vagina, causes oral thrush and vaginal or bowel yeast infection if it overgrows. Another yeast called Cryptococcus neoformans causes a dangerous and potentially lethal infection of the brain membrane called cryptococcal meningitis.
Molds, which are multicellular fungi, cause decay on food and vegetables and secrete mycotoxins that cause miscarriage, birth defects and liver cancer, as stated by Health Hype. As of 2012, fungal disease and infection destroy approximately 125 tons of the top five food crops each year, which are rice, wheat, maize, potatoes and soybeans. The damage to these crops costs global agriculture approximately 60 billion dollars per year. Damaged crops disproportionately affect developing nations that rely heavily on these crops. New fungal diseases threaten the existence of endangered amphibians, endangered bees, sea turtles, bats and corals, reports Science Daily.Learn more about Botany