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 value of fungal products was as high as £380,000 million worldwide.
Fungi are vital to the production of food, ranging from mushroom cultivation to
the production of cheese.
Fungi are Useful Today?
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.
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
and crispy crust. This is what gives these particular cheeses a hard surface
and such a distinctive flavour.
venatum- Mycoproteins (a fungus with a high amount
of protein) used as an alternative to meat to produce Quorn for vegetarians. It
is also used as a substitute for fat in dairy products.
Aspergillus niger- Multi-cellular moulds that is used in 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.