Listen to part of a lecture in an environmental science class.
When you try to imagine a fungus, you’d probably picture a mushroom popping up out of the ground and think that’s it.
But a fungus like that...most of it actually lives underground, and fungi in general are often an important active component of the soil.
A fungus secretes enzymes into the soil, enzymes that break down, decompose organic material in the soil. So the fungus can absorb this material and get nutrition.
But to me, what’s most interesting about this process is how it may enable fungi to help clean up environmental pollution in the soil.
And that’s thanks in part to a substance in their cell walls called chitin.
Now a lot of people think fungi are related to plants, but they are not.
Believe it or not, the only other place chitin is found in abundance is in the exoskeletons of insects, crabs and such.
So in this sense, fungi are more associated with insects than with any plant. Strange, uh?