The study of fungi is called
mycology. It referred to the study of genome of fungi, their biochemical
properties, their taxonomy and their impact on human life. Fungi play an important
role in our everyday life. Form food and drinks production to live saving
pharmaceutical compounds and enzymes, this wide group plays an important role. They
also plays important role in production of vitamins, lipids, alcohols,
polysaccharides and different pigments. Some fungal secondary metabolites are
very important for human health. The development of recombinant DNA technology
and genomic analysis have increased the scope of yeasts and filamentous fungi
in different industries including food and beverage industries and
pharmaceuticals. Edible filamentous fungi which produce important enzymes add
advantage while using in edible purpose.
Due to importance of fungi for
human some of the fungi are studied extensively like saccharomyces cerevisiae which is widely used in food industry. Other than
saccharomyces and other model fungi, there are still almost 5 million
fungal species whose importance is still to be discovered.
Biological control agents
Bioremediation of soils
Oriental food fermentations
Pathogenic fungi are referred
to those species of fungi which cause diseases in human beings, plants, animals
and other organisms. The study of these disease causing fungi is called medical
In 1835 a scientist named Bassi
discovered a fungal disease caused by fungi Beauveria
bassiana which cause disease in silk worm. In 1910, a scientist named
Raymond Sabouraud study dermatophytic fungi which is a disease causing fungi.
He is named as father of medical mycology.
There are certain properties of
fungi which make them capable of causing diseases in organisms. Three of the
main properties are the adaptability of fungi to host tissues, survival at low
oxidation reduction state and capsule around them. Pathogenic fungi generally
cause pathogenesity by invading the cell or tissue i.e. they are intracellular
pathogens. The fungal diseases are mostly observed in immune-compromised
organisms. Generally fungi are pathogenic or saprophytic to plants. The
infection to human by fungi is not common. It occurs only when favorable
conditions for fungal growth are present.
In human beings the body shows
great resistance or immunity when any fungal infection occur. These fungal
infections can be broadly divided into two categories; environmentally acquired
or endogenously acquired. Aspergillus
fumigates grow in compost or soil and a person get infected if he inhale
the fungal spore present in the soil. While on other hand Candida albicans cause invasive infection infecting person’s own
gastrointestinal cells. The systemic fungal infections usually lead to
pulmonary infections. Common areas in human where fungal infections are seen
are hair, nails and skin.
ABILITIES OF FUNGI TO CAUSE
Resist phagocytosis by
developing capsule around them.
To nourish themselves by
taking iron from host’s blood.
Produce some unique
enzymes to resist host’s immune response.
Suppress cell mediated
immune system of host.
Produce enzymes which
destroy host’s cell
Some fungal diseases are;
Candidiasis by different
species of Candida
Histoplasmosis caused by
known as valley fever caused by Coccidioides.
BIOTECHNOLOGICAL APPROCHES TO
CONTROL FUNGAL PATHOGENS:
There are different approaches
attained for protection of organism from fungal pathogens. Approaches followed
in plants are different from animals. This is because of two main reasons. One
the difference in metabolic pathways and second is difference in fungal
species. Some biotechnological aspects for control of plant pathogens are;
towards fungal pathogens in plants.
Increase the production
of glucanases and chitinases enzymes in plants which shows antifungal activity.
Both of these enzymes belong to PR protein family i.e. Pathogenesis related
Enhancement of genes
which produce phytoalixens which acts as toxin for foreign pathogenic fungus.
genes which enhance plant’s structural defense mechanism.
Some different biotechnological
techniques are applied in animals for control of fungal pathogenic diseases.
Unlike plants, the techniques applied in animals also have some ethical
concerns. Some biotechnological approaches are;
Increase immunization in
animals. This could be done by different ways. Enhancing the product of those
genes which are responsible for animal’s immune response or injection of some
immune boosting injections. This will help in disease prevention rather than
diagnostic techniques developed with the help of biotechnology helps in
identification of actual cause of disease and exactly where that pathogen is
affecting. This will help in designing specific treatment for specific
attenuated vaccines for fungal diseases also helps in protection of an animal
Increasing stability of
an animal against fungal pathogen with the help of recombinant vaccines.
Biotechnology is providing a whole new horizon
for development of resistance from different diseases. Some of these include
those diseases which were not cured previously. Biotechnology doesn’t only
provide cure to diseases but also provide control. This helps in alteration of
genes that result in protection of organism from different pathogens. It could
be because of gene producing any protein which kill pathogen or enhance the
organism’s structure so pathogen cannot enter the body. There could be other
ways too. Genetically altered animals or plants don’t only show resistance
towards pathogen but can also be helpful for human for food and feed purpose.