These creatures of nature are familiar to us since childhood. Everyone knows about the role of mushrooms in human nutrition, in the production of certain food products (for example, kefir, bread, cheeses, wine), in the creation of antibiotic drugs. But many people will probably find it difficult to answer the question “A mushroom is a plant or an animal, a fruit or a vegetable” correctly. But if the science of botany itself decided on this issue not so long ago, then what about ordinary citizens?
The concept of mushrooms, as a separate segment of wildlife, was formed only in the 70s of the last century. Mushrooms were defined as a kingdom of nature, uniting organisms that contain signs of both plants and animals (in essence, a mushroom is both). And the scientific study of these creatures stood out in the science of mycology - a branch of botany.
The mushroom kingdom is differentgreat diversity - biological and ecological. These organisms have become a fundamental and integral part of some ecological systems, water and soil. According to various estimates of mycologists, there are from 100,000 to 1.5 million species of these creatures on the planet. Mushroom classes (as of 2008) number 36, and families - 560.
Mushrooms in nature
The role of these organisms in the ecological system of the Earth is great. Many fungi convert organic matter into inorganic, essentially utilizing dead organic cells. And plants, in turn, carrying out symbiosis with fungi, feed on the products of their vital activity. Mushrooms interact with higher plants, and with algae, and with insects, and with animals. So in ruminants, mushrooms are an important and indispensable component for the digestion of plant foods.
Role in people's lives
Since ancient times, the mushroom is, first of all, a source of food for some part of humanity. Written information about the use of mushrooms is known five thousand years ago (but, for sure, cavemen used them as food). Since mushrooms are present in various niches of nature - both on water, and on land, and in the air - they could not do without them in the preparation of certain types of food. Some varieties of cheeses, kefir, yeast bread, beer, wine - these products appeared solely due to the vital activity of these organisms. And in the modern world, a mushroom is also a raw material for the production of certain drugs (antibiotics) that kill pathogenic bacteria and help intreatment of previously fatal diseases such as pneumonia.
Reproduction and resettlement
Mushrooms have a fairly efficient way of reproduction created by nature. Fungal spores are either one or several cells with microscopic dimensions (from 1 to 100 microns). These cells contain few nutrients and rarely survive. But, when they get into a nutritious and favorable environment, germinating, they give life to a new mycelium. Low survival is compensated by nature with a huge number of spores. So a medium-sized tinder fungus produces up to 30 billion spores, and champignon - up to 40! There are spores of asexual and sexual reproduction of fungi that perform essentially different functions in the life of the fungus. The first - for mass settlement during the growing season. The second is to create a variety of offspring.
Actually, this is not even one, but a whole group of different organisms. Interestingly, kefir mushroom (also known as Tibetan or milk mushroom) is a symbiosis of microorganisms of various species, formed during a long development. These creatures are so adapted to living together that they behave like a single and indivisible organism. And the basis of white and yellowish kefir mushrooms with a specific sour taste is yeast and streptococci (lactic acid sticks), which determine its nutritional value and benefits for the human body. In general, this symbiosis includes more than 10 different microorganisms that grow and multiply together, includingacetic acid bacteria. Thus, the result of the vital activity of this community of organisms can be attributed both to the products of lactic acid and to the products of alcoholic fermentation at the same time. And the resulting Tibetan kefir includes lactic acid, and alcohol, and carbon dioxide, and enzymes, which gives it a special originality and taste (besides being useful with regular use).
History of Tibetan kefir
It has more than one century. According to historians, kefir fungus has been known for several thousand years. The monks fermenting milk in special clay pots noticed that it turned sour in different ways. So the kefir fungus was discovered and cultivated. Over time, Tibetan monks learned that such a product, obtained as a result of joint fermentation and the activity of several types of microorganisms, has a very positive effect on the organs of the human body with regular use, strengthening and restoring. Liver and stomach, pancreas and heart felt great! Since then, many diseases have been treated with Tibetan kefir, mainly as a prophylactic.