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Fungi are an essential factor of
life today and are immensely productive to both animals and plants. Many foods
and traditional medicines comprise of fungi and have done for centuries.
Currently, we are still discovering more and more uses of fungal processes. The
commercial cost of fungal products was previously as high as £380,000 million
worldwide. Fungi are vital to the production of food, ranging from mushroom
cultivation to the production of cheese.

What
Fungi are Useful Today?

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Agaricus bisporus- Edible mushroom commonly known as Portobello mushroom. They are a
nutritious fungal growth known to be superfoods. They are good for promoting
better diet quality and weight management as well as improving your immune
system, eradicating viruses and destroying cancer cells.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae- Single-celled fungi that are highly useful in food
production. It is a species of yeast that is used most commonly in bread to
make the bread dough rise when baking. They are also used in industrial
processes to make alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine.

Penicillium
camemberti- A species of fungi is used in the production of
Camembert cheese and other similar cheeses such as Brie cheese to form a white,
crispy crust. This is what gives these particular cheeses a hard surface and such
a unique flavour.

Fusarium
venatum- Mycoproteins (a fungus with a high amount
of protein) used as a substitute to meat to produce Quorn for vegetarians. It
is also used as a alternative for fat in dairy products.

Aspergillus niger- Multi-cellular moulds that is used in both fizzy drinks
and carbonated water in order to increase the amount of citric acid in the beverages
as this acid can be obtained through a process called fermentation. The use of
this mould in fizzy drinks is to also maintain the fizz for a longer amount of
time once the drink has been opened.

How is Saccharomyces
cerevisiae used in the Production of Bread and Alcoholic Drinks?

Saccharomyces cervisiae, as
mentioned, is a yeast included in the making of bread, to allow the dough to
rise when baking. Yeast is a single-celled fungus that feeds off of sugar.
During bread making, the sugars are metabolised and the yeast produces carbon
dioxide, as well as alcohol, and this is then released into the dough, making
it rise before cooking. Additionally, yeast is used to make alcoholic drinks
such as beer and wine. The role of yeast in brewing is to convert juice, generally
grape juice, into wine; this process is called fermentation. Alcoholic
fermentation is the process by which sugars are turned into alcohol. In the
absence of oxygen, yeast converts the glucose (sugar) into ethanol (alcohol)
and carbon dioxide. As a result, wine is made.

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