Fungi

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Fungi can be single celled or very complex multicellular organisms. They are found in just about any habitat but most live on the land, mainly in soil or on plant material. A group called the decomposers grow in the soil or on dead plant matter where they play an important role in the cycling of carbon and other elements. Some are parasites of plants causing diseases such as mildews, rusts, scabs or canker. In crops fungal diseases can lead to significant monetary loss for the farmer. A very small number of fungi cause diseases in animals. In humans these include skin diseases such as athletes’ foot, ringworm and thrush.

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