Role of Fungi in Agriculture

One major saprophyte of the earth is this a lower thallophyte called Fungi. Since fungus decomposes dead organisms, these can be of high value in agriculture. Thus the idea to utilise this non-green thallophyte came to existence. Furthermore, fungi also produces humus and this is one among natural sources of plant nutrients. Now-a-days, fungi is also used for biological pest controlling in many regions of the world. Mycorrhizal associations with many higher plants are also one of those major roles played in agriculture industries. Below are some of it’s rich usage value is described.

Fungus grown in wooden log
Fungus grown in wooden log.

Fungus in humus formation:

When plant body and animals are dead, they contributes to the big heaps of organic wastes. Agricultural wastage, forest litter, etc. also plays a vital role in organic or bio-waste formation. Almost all fungi along with bacteria are the key of degradation of these organic wastes which makes our environment clean. When fungi degrades such organic wastes, these generates a kind of organic nutrient for plants called humus. All plant nutrients required for growth and development is actually locked in plant and animal bodies in a complex form. Fungi degenerates these and makes them available in simpler form which is called called humus. So, humus is none other than degenerated plant and animal bodies.
During the formation of this humus, some amount of Carbon-di-oxide gas (CO2) is also formed, which is utilised by green plants during photosynthesis. Humus is basically a degenerative product of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, proteins, nucleic acid, etc. The major part of the humus consists of Humic acid, Humins, Fulvic acid, etc.
Because of it’s nutrient-rich nature, humus maintains physical and chemical properties of soils supporting various biological activities. During humus formation, all those complex organic molecules are degraded in steps. I’ve mentioned below some of complex organic molecules along with the fungi degrading them-

  • Cellulose: Aspergillus, Penicillium, Chaetomium, Fuscarium, Frichoderma, Cladosporium, Alternaria, Humicola, Phoma, etc.
  • Hemicellulose: Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, Chaetomium, Glomerella, etc.
  • Pactin: Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, Rhizopus, Monilia, etc.
  • Lignin: Many white rod fungi of Basidiomycotina and many Agaricus.

And thus fungi enriches minerals and other nutrients in soil increasing fertility.

Fungi in biological control of pests:

When we use one specific organism to control other organism, its called biological control. In many parts of the world, many fungi species have been successfully used to control over many kind of plant pests, such as pest fungi (antagonism), many insects and nematodes. Cordyceps melonhae, Aschrsonia aleyroids, Empausa sapulcrhalis, etc. are often used as insecticides to control different types of insects.
If we use fungi as pesticides, then there will be no environmental hamper at all. These kinds of practices of fungal remedies should be encouraged by both government and non-profit organizations.

Fungi in agricultural researches:

Although fungal infections are treated as destructive issues, but still it’s research related potentiality cannot be ignored. Many fungi species are used in the production of many enzymes and also some are used to detect the presence of some elements in soil. Neurospora sp. is used for genetical and biochemical researches. Studies carried on the Neurospora resulted the One gene on enzyme hypothesis. Many species of Saccharomycetes and Aspergillus are also used in various agricultural researches. For the detection of Copper in soil, Aspergillus niger is used. Similarly, for the detection of Arsenic traces in the sample Scopulatropsis sp. is used. These are just few examples of agricultural research related usage of fungi. The real area is still growing day by day.


In the field of agriculture industries, the usage of fungi is growing day by day. From natural humus formation to latest cosmopolitan researches, fungi are coming to limelight with it’s vast degree of possibilities and eco-friendly practices.
If you have any doubts or want to ask anything related to this topic, feel free to leave your comments bellow.

3 thoughts on “Role of Fungi in Agriculture

  1. Suryawanshi Datta says:

    Sir your notes are very useful in my exam preparations
    Sir I have studying M. Sc first year Botany
    thanks a lot sir ji

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