Mycology is the study of fungi, their genetic and biochemical properties, their taxonomy, and their use to humans as a source for medicinals (see penicillin) and food (beer, wine, cheese, edible mushrooms), as well as their dangers, such as poisoning or infection. Mycology is closely related to phytopathology: the study of plant diseases. Historically, mycology was a branch of Botany. Pioneer mycologists were Elias Magnus Fries, Christian Hendrik Persoon, and Anton de Bary.
Today, the most comprehensively studied and understood fungi are the eukaryotic model organisms Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. The genus Fusarium (which are worldwide in their distribution) and their toxins associated with fatal outbreaks of alimentary toxic aleukia in humans were extensively studied by Professor Abraham Z. Joffe. Many other fungi are economically and socially important as they are responsible for diseases like Potato blight.
Field expeditions to find interesting types of fungi (often edible mushrooms) are known as fungus foray s, and are typically led by an expert mycologist.
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