The Fungi: 1, 2, 3 … 5.1 Million Species?

Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA.
American Journal of Botany (Impact Factor: 2.6). 03/2011; 98(3):426-38. DOI: 10.3732/ajb.1000298
Source: PubMed


Fungi are major decomposers in certain ecosystems and essential associates of many organisms. They provide enzymes and drugs and serve as experimental organisms. In 1991, a landmark paper estimated that there are 1.5 million fungi on the Earth. Because only 70000 fungi had been described at that time, the estimate has been the impetus to search for previously unknown fungi. Fungal habitats include soil, water, and organisms that may harbor large numbers of understudied fungi, estimated to outnumber plants by at least 6 to 1. More recent estimates based on high-throughput sequencing methods suggest that as many as 5.1 million fungal species exist.
Technological advances make it possible to apply molecular methods to develop a stable classification and to discover and identify fungal taxa.
Molecular methods have dramatically increased our knowledge of Fungi in less than 20 years, revealing a monophyletic kingdom and increased diversity among early-diverging lineages. Mycologists are making significant advances in species discovery, but many fungi remain to be discovered.
Fungi are essential to the survival of many groups of organisms with which they form associations. They also attract attention as predators of invertebrate animals, pathogens of potatoes and rice and humans and bats, killers of frogs and crayfish, producers of secondary metabolites to lower cholesterol, and subjects of prize-winning research. Molecular tools in use and under development can be used to discover the world's unknown fungi in less than 1000 years predicted at current new species acquisition rates.

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Available from: Meredith Blackwell, Mar 07, 2014
    • "This is interesting because in both collection sites, the native vegetation remains in good condition. Studies have shown that fungi are found with densities ranging from 10 4 to 10 6 organisms per gram of soil (Blackwell, 2011). AccordingBononi (1998), in environments with high density populations of fungi, different types of ecological relationships among populations of fungi and/or other bodies are established. "

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    • "Fungi encompass a diverse group of eukaryotic organisms ranging from microscopic, single celled yeasts to macroscopic multicellular mushrooms (Kendrick 1985; Schoch et al. 2014) and are numerically among the most abundant eukaryotes in the Earth's biosphere (Smil 2003; Gherbawy and Voigt 2010; Blackwell 2011; Hawksworth 2015). They are vital to ecosystem functioning, play important roles in natural nutrient cycling , and cause disease of humans, animals and plants. "
    Dataset: 2015 FOF

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    • "Fungi are widespread eukaryotic organisms, classified as a kingdom , and include yeasts, molds and mushrooms as the most known representatives (Fig. 1). An overall estimation of fungal organisms varies between 1.5 million[1]and 5.1 million[2]species, but only around 100,000 of them have been described[3]. Among all fungal diversity, pathogenic fungi have recently attracted more attention of different research groups, what is documented by a constantly growing number of the corresponding publications in the PubMed database (since 2007 more than 2000 studies have been published annually). "
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    ABSTRACT: Fungal pathogens are causal agents of numerous human, animal, and plant diseases. They employ various infection modes to overcome host defense systems. Infection mechanisms of different fungi have been subjected to many comprehensive studies. These investigations have been facilitated by the development of various ‘-omics’ techniques, and proteomics has one of the leading roles in this regard. Fungal conidia and sclerotia could be considered the most important structures for pathogenesis as their germination is one of the first steps towards a host infection. They represent interesting objects for proteomic studies because of the presence of unique proteins with unexplored biotechnological potential required for pathogen viability, development and the subsequent host infection. Proteomic peculiarities of survival structures of different fungi, including those of biotechnological significance (e.g., Asperillus fumigatus, A. nidulans, Metarhizium anisopliae), in a dormant state, as well as changes in the protein production during early stages of fungal development are the subjects of the present review. We focused on biological aspects of proteomic studies of fungal survival structures rather than on an evaluation of proteomic approaches. For that reason, proteins that have been identified in this context are discussed from the point of view of their involvement in different biological processes and possible functions assigned to them. This is the first review paper summarizing recent advances in proteomics of fungal survival structures.
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