Manure is organic matter derived from animal feces except in the case of green manure, which can be used as organic fertilizer in agriculture. Manures contribute to the fertility of the soil by adding organic matter and nutrients, such as nitrogen, that are utilised by bacteria and other organisms in the soil. Higher organisms feed on the fungi and bacteria in a chain of life that comprises the soil food web. In the past, the term "manure" included inorganic fertilizers, but this usage is now rare. There are three main classes of manures used in soil management: Most animal manure consists of feces. Common forms of animal manure include farmyard farm slurry. FYM contains plant material, used as bedding for animals and has absorbed the feces and urine. Agricultural manure in liquid form, known as slurry, is produced by more intensive livestock rearing systems where concrete or slats are used, instead of straw bedding. Manure from different animals has different qualities and requires different application rates when used as fertilizer.
For example horses, pigs, chickens, turkeys and guano from seabirds and bats all have different properties. For instance, sheep manure is high in nitrogen and potash, while pig manure is low in both. Horses eat grass and a few weeds so horse manure can contain grass and weed seeds, as horses do not digest seeds the way that cattle do. Cattle manure is a good source of nitrogen as well as organic carbon. Chicken litter, coming from a bird, is concentrated in nitrogen and phosphate and is prized for both properties. Animal manures may be adulterated or contaminated with other animal products, such as wool, feathers and bone. Livestock feed can be mixed with the manure due to spillage. For example, chickens are fed meat and bone meal, an animal product, which can end up becoming mixed with chicken litter; some people refer to human excreta as human manure, the word "humanure" has been used. Just like animal manure, it can be applied as a soil conditioner. Sewage sludge is a material that contains human excreta, as it is generated after mixing excreta with water and treatment of the wastewater in a sewage treatment plant.
Compost is the decomposed remnants of organic materials. It is of plant origin, but includes some animal dung or bedding. Green manures are crops grown for the express purpose of plowing them in, thus increasing fertility through the incorporation of nutrients and organic matter into the soil. Leguminous plants such as clover are used for this, as they fix nitrogen using Rhizobia bacteria in specialized nodes in the root structure. Other types of plant matter used as manure include the contents of the rumens of slaughtered ruminants, spent grain and seaweed. Animal manure, such as chicken manure and cow dung, has been used for centuries as a fertilizer for farming, it can improve the soil structure so that the soil holds more nutrients and water, therefore becomes more fertile. Animal manure encourages soil microbial activity which promotes the soil's trace mineral supply, improving plant nutrition, it contains some nitrogen and other nutrients that assist the growth of plants. Manures with a unpleasant odor are knifed directly into the soil to reduce release of the odor.
Manure from pigs and cattle is spread on fields using a manure spreader. Due to the lower level of proteins in vegetable matter, herbivore manure has a milder smell than the dung of carnivores or omnivores. However, herbivore slurry that has undergone anaerobic fermentation may develop more unpleasant odors, this can be a problem in some agricultural regions. Poultry droppings are harmful to plants when fresh, but after a period of composting are valuable fertilizers. Manure is commercially composted and bagged and sold as a soil amendment. In 2018, Austrian scientists offered a method of paper production from cow manure. Any quantity of manure may be a source of pathogens or food spoilage organisms which may be carried by flies, rodents or a range of other vector organisms and cause disease or put food safety at risk. In 2007, a University of Minnesota study indicated that foods such as corn and potatoes have been found to accumulate antibiotics from soils spread with animal manure that contains these drugs.
Organic foods may be much more or much less to contain antibiotics, depending on their sources and treatment of manure. For instance, by Soil Association Standard 4.7.38, most organic arable farmers either have their own supply of manure or else rely on green manure crops for the extra fertility. On the other hand, as found in the University of Minnesota study, the non-usage of artificial fertilizers, resulting exclusive use of manure as fertilizer, by organic farmers can result in greater accumulations of antibiotics in organic foods. Application and environmental risks of livestock manure North American Manure Expo Cornell Manure Program County-Level Estimates of Nitrogen and Phosphorus from Animal Manure for the Conterminous United States, 2002 United States Geological Survey Manure Management, Water Quality Information Center, U. S. Department of Agriculture Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center, an eXtension community
Sequoiadendron giganteum is the sole living species in the genus Sequoiadendron, one of three species of coniferous trees known as redwoods, classified in the family Cupressaceae in the subfamily Sequoioideae, together with Sequoia sempervirens and Metasequoia glyptostroboides. Giant sequoia specimens are the most massive trees on Earth; the common use of the name sequoia refers to Sequoiadendron giganteum, which occurs only in groves on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. The etymology of the genus name has been presumed—initially in The Yosemite Book by Josiah Whitney in 1868—to be in honor of Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee syllabary. An etymological study published in 2012, concluded that the name was more to have originated from the Latin sequi since the number of seeds per cone in the newly-classified genus fell in mathematical sequence with the other four genera in the suborder. Giant sequoia specimens are the most massive individual trees in the world.
They grow to an average height of 50–85 m with trunk diameters ranging from 6–8 m. Record trees have been measured at 94.8 m tall. Trunk diameters of 17 m have been claimed via research figures taken out of context; the specimen known to have the greatest diameter at breast height is the General Grant tree at 8.8 m. Between 2014 and 2016, specimens of coast redwood were found to have greater trunk diameters than all known giant sequoias; the trunks of coast redwoods taper at lower heights than those of giant sequoias which have more columnar trunks that maintain larger diameters to greater heights. The oldest known giant sequoia is 3,500 years old based on dendrochronology. Giant sequoias are among the oldest living organisms on Earth. Giant sequoia bark is fibrous and may be 90 cm thick at the base of the columnar trunk; the bark provides significant protection from fire damage. The leaves are evergreen, awl-shaped, 3–6 mm long, arranged spirally on the shoots; the giant sequoia regenerates by seed.
The seed cones are 4–7 cm long and mature in 18–20 months, though they remain green and closed for as long as 20 years. Each cone has 30–50 spirally arranged scales, with several seeds on each scale, giving an average of 230 seeds per cone. Seeds are dark brown, 4–5 mm long, 1 mm broad, with a 1-millimeter wide, yellow-brown wing along each side; some seeds shed when the cone scales shrink during hot weather in late summer, but most are liberated by insect damage or when the cone dries from the heat of fire. Young trees start to bear cones after 12 years. Trees may produce sprouts from their stumps subsequent to injury. Giant sequoias of all ages may sprout from their boles when branches are lost to breakage. A large tree may have as many as 11,000 cones. Cone production is greatest in the upper portion of the canopy. A mature giant sequoia disperses an estimated 300–400 thousand seeds annually; the winged seeds may fly as far as 180 m from the parent tree. Lower branches die from being shaded, but trees younger than 100 years retain most of their dead branches.
Trunks of mature trees in groves are free of branches to a height of 20–50 m, but solitary trees retain lower branches. Because of its size, the tree has been studied for its water pull. Water from the roots can be pushed up only a few meters by osmotic pressure but can reach extreme heights by using a system of branching capillarity in the tree's xylem and sub-pressure from evaporating water at the leaves. Sequoias supplement water from the soil with fog, taken up through air roots, at heights to where the root water cannot be pulled; the natural distribution of giant sequoias is restricted to a limited area of the western Sierra Nevada, California. They occur in scattered groves, with a total of 68 groves, comprising a total area of only 144.16 km2. Nowhere does it grow in pure stands, although in a few small areas, stands do approach a pure condition; the northern two-thirds of its range, from the American River in Placer County southward to the Kings River, has only eight disjunct groves.
The remaining southern groves are concentrated between the Kings River and the Deer Creek Grove in southern Tulare County. Groves range in size from 12.4 km2 with 20,000 mature trees, to small groves with only six living trees. Many are protected in Giant Sequoia National Monument; the giant sequoia is found in a humid climate characterized by dry summers and snowy winters. Most giant sequoia groves are on granitic-based alluvial soils; the elevation of the giant sequoia groves ranges from 1,400–2,000 m in the north, to 1,700–2,150 metres to the south. Giant sequoias occur on the south-facing sides of northern mountains, on the northern faces of more southerly slopes. High levels of reproduction are not necessary to maintain the present population levels. Few groves, have sufficient young trees to maintain the present density of mature giant sequoias for the future; the majority of giant sequoias are undergoing a gradual decline in density since European settlement. While the present day distribution of this species is limited to a small area of C
Feces are the solid or semisolid remains of the food that could not be digested in the small intestine. Bacteria in the large intestine further break down the material. Feces contain a small amount of metabolic waste products such as bacterially altered bilirubin, the dead epithelial cells from the lining of the gut. Feces are discharged through cloaca during a process called defecation. Feces can be used as soil conditioner in agriculture, it can be burned and used as a fuel source or dried and used as a construction material. Some medicinal uses have been found. In the case of human feces, fecal transplants or fecal bacteriotherapy are in use. Urine and feces together are called excreta; the distinctive odor of feces is due to bacterial action. Gut flora produces compounds such as indole and thiols, as well as the inorganic gas hydrogen sulfide; these are the same compounds. Consumption of foods prepared with spices may result in the spices being undigested and adding to the odor of feces; the perceived bad odor of feces has been hypothesized to be a deterrent for humans, as consuming or touching it may result in sickness or infection.
Human perception of the odor may be contrasted by a non-human animal's perception of it. Feces are discharged through cloaca during a process called defecation; this process requires pressures that may reach 100 mm Hg in 450 mm Hg in penguins. The forces required to expel the feces are generated through muscular contractions and a build-up of gases inside the gut, prompting the sphincter to relieve the pressure on it and to release the feces. After an animal has digested eaten material, the remains of that material are discharged from its body as waste. Although it is lower in energy than the food from which it is derived, feces may retain a large amount of energy 50% of that of the original food; this means that of all food eaten, a significant amount of energy remains for the decomposers of ecosystems. Many organisms feed on feces, from bacteria to fungi to insects such as dung beetles, who can sense odors from long distances; some may specialize in feces. Feces serve not only as a basic food, but as a supplement to the usual diet of some animals.
This process is known as coprophagia, occurs in various animal species such as young elephants eating the feces of their mothers to gain essential gut flora, or by other animals such as dogs and monkeys. Feces and urine, which reflect ultraviolet light, are important to raptors such as kestrels, who can see the near ultraviolet and thus find their prey by their middens and territorial markers. Seeds may be found in feces. Animals who eat fruit are known as frugivores. An advantage for a plant in having fruit is that animals will eat the fruit and unknowingly disperse the seed in doing so; this mode of seed dispersal is successful, as seeds dispersed around the base of a plant are unlikely to succeed and are subject to heavy predation. Provided the seed can withstand the pathway through the digestive system, it is not only to be far away from the parent plant, but is provided with its own fertilizer. Organisms that subsist on dead organic matter or detritus are known as detritivores, play an important role in ecosystems by recycling organic matter back into a simpler form that plants and other autotrophs may absorb once again.
This cycling of matter is known as the biogeochemical cycle. To maintain nutrients in soil it is therefore important that feces return to the area from which they came, not always the case in human society where food may be transported from rural areas to urban populations and feces disposed of into a river or sea. Depending on the individual and the circumstances, human beings may defecate several times a day, every day, or once every two or three days; the extensive hardening that interrupts this routine for several days or more is called constipation. The appearance of human fecal matter varies according to health, it is semisolid, with a mucus coating. A combination of bile and bilirubin, which comes from dead red blood cells, gives feces the typical brown color. After the meconium, the first stool expelled, a newborn's feces contain only bile, which gives it a yellow-green color. Breast feeding babies expel soft, pale yellowish, not quite malodorous matter. At different times in their life, human beings will expel feces of different textures.
A stool that passes through the intestines will look greenish. The feces of animals are used as fertilizer. Dry animal dung is used as a fuel source in many countries around the world; some animal feces that of camel and cattle, are fuel sources when dried. Animals such as the giant panda and zebra possess gut bacteria capable of producing biofuel; that bacteria, called Brocadia anammoxidans, can create the rocket fuel hydrazine. A coprolite is classified as a trace fossil. In paleontology they give evidence about the diet of an animal, they were first described by William Buckland in 1829. Prior to this they were known as "fossil fir cones" and "bezoar stones", they serve a valuable purpose in paleontology because they provide direct evidence of the predation and diet of extinct organisms. Coprolites may range in size from a few millimetres to more than 60 centimetres. Palaeofeces are ancie
Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. The various types of sugar are derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose and galactose. "Table sugar" or "granulated sugar" refers to a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. In the body, sucrose is hydrolysed into glucose. Sugars are found in the tissues of most plants, but sucrose is concentrated in sugarcane and sugar beet, making them ideal for efficient commercial extraction to make refined sugar. Sugarcane originated in tropical Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, is known of from before 6,000 BP, sugar beet was first described in writing by Olivier de Serres and originated in southwestern and Southeast Europe along the Atlantic coasts and the Mediterranean Sea, in North Africa, Macaronesia, to Western Asia. In 2016, the combined world production of those two crops was about two billion tonnes. Other disaccharides include lactose. Longer chains of sugar molecules are called polysaccharides.
Some other chemical substances, such as glycerol and sugar alcohols, may have a sweet taste, but are not classified as sugar. Sucrose is used in prepared foods, is sometimes added to commercially available beverages, may be used by people as a sweetener for foods and beverages; the average person consumes about 24 kilograms of sugar each year, or 33.1 kilograms in developed countries, equivalent to over 260 food calories per day. As sugar consumption grew in the latter part of the 20th century, researchers began to examine whether a diet high in sugar refined sugar, was damaging to human health. Excessive consumption of sugar has been implicated in the onset of obesity, cardiovascular disease and tooth decay. Numerous studies have tried to clarify those implications, but with varying results because of the difficulty of finding populations for use as controls that consume little or no sugar. In 2015, the World Health Organization recommended that adults and children reduce their intake of free sugars to less than 10%, encouraged a reduction to below 5%, of their total energy intake.
The etymology reflects the spread of the commodity. From Sanskrit शर्करा, meaning "ground or candied sugar," "grit, gravel", came Persian shakar, whence Arabic سكر, whence Medieval Latin succarum, whence 12th-century French sucre, whence the English word sugar. Italian zucchero, Spanish azúcar, Portuguese açúcar came directly from Arabic, the Spanish and Portuguese words retaining the Arabic definite article; the earliest Greek word attested is σάκχαρις. The English word jaggery, a coarse brown sugar made from date palm sap or sugarcane juice, has a similar etymological origin: Portuguese jágara from the Malayalam ചക്കരാ, itself from the Sanskrit शर्करा. Sugar has been produced in the Indian subcontinent since ancient times and its cultivation spread from there into modern-day Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass, it was not plentiful or cheap in early times, in most parts of the world, honey was more used for sweetening. People chewed raw sugarcane to extract its sweetness. Sugarcane was a native of Southeast Asia.
Different species seem to have originated from different locations with Saccharum barberi originating in India and S. edule and S. officinarum coming from New Guinea. One of the earliest historical references to sugarcane is in Chinese manuscripts dating to 8th century BCE, which state that the use of sugarcane originated in India. In the tradition of Indian medicine, the sugarcane is known by the name Ikṣu and the sugarcane juice is known as Phāṇita, its varieties and characterics are defined in nighaṇṭus such as the Bhāvaprakāśa. Sugar remained unimportant until the Indians discovered methods of turning sugarcane juice into granulated crystals that were easier to store and to transport. Crystallized sugar was discovered by the time of the Imperial Guptas, around the 5th century CE. In the local Indian language, these crystals were called khanda, the source of the word candy. Indian sailors, who carried clarified butter and sugar as supplies, introduced knowledge of sugar along the various trade routes they travelled.
Traveling Buddhist monks took sugar crystallization methods to China. During the reign of Harsha in North India, Indian envoys in Tang China taught methods of cultivating sugarcane after Emperor Taizong of Tang made known his interest in sugar. China established its first sugarcane plantations in the seventh century. Chinese documents confirm at least two missions to India, initiated in 647 CE, to obtain technology for sugar refining. In the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and China, sugar became a staple of cooking and desserts. Nearchus, admiral of Alexander of Macedonia, knew of sugar during the year 325 B. C. because of his participation in the campaign of India led by Alexander. The Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides in the 1st century CE described sugar in his medical treatise De Materia Medica, Pliny the Elder, a 1st-century CE Roman, described sugar in his Natural History: "Sugar is made in Arabia as well, but Indian sugar is better, it is a kind of honey found in cane, white as gum, it crunches between the teeth.
It comes in lumps the size of a hazelnut. Sugar is used only for medical purposes." Crusaders brought sugar back to Europe after their campaigns in the Hol
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus. It is an odd-toed ungulate mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae; the horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature, into the large, single-toed animal of today. Humans began domesticating horses around 4000 BC, their domestication is believed to have been widespread by 3000 BC. Horses in the subspecies caballus are domesticated, although some domesticated populations live in the wild as feral horses; these feral populations are not true wild horses, as this term is used to describe horses that have never been domesticated, such as the endangered Przewalski's horse, a separate subspecies, the only remaining true wild horse. There is an extensive, specialized vocabulary used to describe equine-related concepts, covering everything from anatomy to life stages, colors, breeds and behavior. Horses' anatomy enables them to make use of speed to escape predators and they have a well-developed sense of balance and a strong fight-or-flight response.
Related to this need to flee from predators in the wild is an unusual trait: horses are able to sleep both standing up and lying down, with younger horses tending to sleep more than adults. Female horses, called mares, carry their young for 11 months, a young horse, called a foal, can stand and run shortly following birth. Most domesticated horses begin training in harness between the ages of two and four, they reach full adult development by age five, have an average lifespan of between 25 and 30 years. Horse breeds are loosely divided into three categories based on general temperament: spirited "hot bloods" with speed and endurance. There are more than 300 breeds of horse in the world today, developed for many different uses. Horses and humans interact in a wide variety of sport competitions and non-competitive recreational pursuits, as well as in working activities such as police work, agriculture and therapy. Horses were used in warfare, from which a wide variety of riding and driving techniques developed, using many different styles of equipment and methods of control.
Many products are derived from horses, including meat, hide, hair and pharmaceuticals extracted from the urine of pregnant mares. Humans provide domesticated horses with food and shelter, as well as attention from specialists such as veterinarians and farriers. Specific terms and specialized language are used to describe equine anatomy, different life stages and breeds. Depending on breed and environment, the modern domestic horse has a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years. Uncommonly, a few animals live into their 40s and beyond; the oldest verifiable record was "Old Billy", a 19th-century horse that lived to the age of 62. In modern times, Sugar Puff, listed in Guinness World Records as the world's oldest living pony, died in 2007 at age 56. Regardless of a horse or pony's actual birth date, for most competition purposes a year is added to its age each January 1 of each year in the Northern Hemisphere and each August 1 in the Southern Hemisphere; the exception is in endurance riding, where the minimum age to compete is based on the animal's actual calendar age.
The following terminology is used to describe horses of various ages: Foal: A foal of either sex less than one year old. A nursing foal is sometimes called a suckling and a foal, weaned is called a weanling. Most domesticated foals are weaned at five to seven months of age, although foals can be weaned at four months with no adverse physical effects. Yearling: A horse of either sex, between one and two years old. Colt: A male horse under the age of four. A common terminology error is to call any young horse a "colt", when the term only refers to young male horses. Filly: A female horse under the age of four. Mare: A female horse four years old and older. Stallion: A non-castrated male horse four years old and older; the term "horse" is sometimes used colloquially to refer to a stallion. Gelding: A castrated male horse of any age. In horse racing, these definitions may differ: For example, in the British Isles, Thoroughbred horse racing defines colts and fillies as less than five years old. However, Australian Thoroughbred racing defines fillies as less than four years old.
The height of horses is measured at the highest point of the withers. This point is used because it is a stable point of the anatomy, unlike the head or neck, which move up and down in relation to the body of the horse. In English-speaking countries, the height of horses is stated in units of hands and inches: one hand is equal to 4 inches; the height is expressed as the number of full hands, followed by a point the number of additional inches, ending with the abbreviation "h" or "hh". Thus, a horse described; the size of horses varies by breed, but is influenced by nutrition. Light riding horses range in height from 14 to 16 hands and can weigh from 380 to 550 kilograms. Larger riding horses start at about 15.2 hands and are as tall as 17 hands, weighing from 500 to 600 kilograms. Heavy or draft horses are at least 16 hands (64 inches, 16
Soil is a mixture of organic matter, gases and organisms that together support life. Earth's body of soil, called the pedosphere, has four important functions: as a medium for plant growth as a means of water storage and purification as a modifier of Earth's atmosphere as a habitat for organismsAll of these functions, in their turn, modify the soil; the pedosphere interfaces with the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, the biosphere. The term pedolith, used to refer to the soil, translates to ground stone in the sense "fundamental stone". Soil consists of a solid phase of minerals and organic matter, as well as a porous phase that holds gases and water. Accordingly, soil scientists can envisage soils as a three-state system of solids and gases. Soil is a product of several factors: the influence of climate, relief and the soil's parent materials interacting over time, it continually undergoes development by way of numerous physical and biological processes, which include weathering with associated erosion.
Given its complexity and strong internal connectedness, soil ecologists regard soil as an ecosystem. Most soils have a dry bulk density between 1.1 and 1.6 g/cm3, while the soil particle density is much higher, in the range of 2.6 to 2.7 g/cm3. Little of the soil of planet Earth is older than the Pleistocene and none is older than the Cenozoic, although fossilized soils are preserved from as far back as the Archean. Soil science has two basic branches of study: pedology. Edaphology studies the influence of soils on living things. Pedology focuses on the formation and classification of soils in their natural environment. In engineering terms, soil is included in the broader concept of regolith, which includes other loose material that lies above the bedrock, as can be found on the Moon and on other celestial objects as well. Soil is commonly referred to as earth or dirt. Soil is a major component of the Earth's ecosystem; the world's ecosystems are impacted in far-reaching ways by the processes carried out in the soil, from ozone depletion and global warming to rainforest destruction and water pollution.
With respect to Earth's carbon cycle, soil is an important carbon reservoir, it is one of the most reactive to human disturbance and climate change. As the planet warms, it has been predicted that soils will add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere due to increased biological activity at higher temperatures, a positive feedback; this prediction has, been questioned on consideration of more recent knowledge on soil carbon turnover. Soil acts as an engineering medium, a habitat for soil organisms, a recycling system for nutrients and organic wastes, a regulator of water quality, a modifier of atmospheric composition, a medium for plant growth, making it a critically important provider of ecosystem services. Since soil has a tremendous range of available niches and habitats, it contains most of the Earth's genetic diversity. A gram of soil can contain billions of organisms, belonging to thousands of species microbial and in the main still unexplored. Soil has a mean prokaryotic density of 108 organisms per gram, whereas the ocean has no more than 107 procaryotic organisms per milliliter of seawater.
Organic carbon held in soil is returned to the atmosphere through the process of respiration carried out by heterotrophic organisms, but a substantial part is retained in the soil in the form of soil organic matter. Since plant roots need oxygen, ventilation is an important characteristic of soil; this ventilation can be accomplished via networks of interconnected soil pores, which absorb and hold rainwater making it available for uptake by plants. Since plants require a nearly continuous supply of water, but most regions receive sporadic rainfall, the water-holding capacity of soils is vital for plant survival. Soils can remove impurities, kill disease agents, degrade contaminants, this latter property being called natural attenuation. Soils maintain a net absorption of oxygen and methane and undergo a net release of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Soils offer plants physical support, water, temperature moderation and protection from toxins. Soils provide available nutrients to plants and animals by converting dead organic matter into various nutrient forms.
A typical soil is about 50% solids, 50% voids of which half is occupied by water and half by gas. The percent soil mineral and organic content can be treated as a constant, while the percent soil water and gas content is considered variable whereby a rise in one is balanced by a reduction in the other; the pore space allows for the infiltration and movement of air and water, both of which are critical for life existing in soil. Compaction, a common problem with soils, reduces this space, preventing air and water from reaching plant roots and soil organisms. Given sufficient time, an undifferentiated soil will evolve a soil profile which consists of two or more layers, referred to as soil horizons, that differ in one or more properties such as in their texture, density, consistency, temperature and reactivity; the horizons differ in thickness and gene
A fungus is any member of the group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, separate from the other eukaryotic life kingdoms of plants and animals. A characteristic that places fungi in a different kingdom from plants and some protists is chitin in their cell walls. Similar to animals, fungi are heterotrophs. Fungi do not photosynthesize. Growth is their means of mobility, except for spores, which may travel through the water. Fungi are the principal decomposers in ecological systems; these and other differences place fungi in a single group of related organisms, named the Eumycota, which share a common ancestor, an interpretation, strongly supported by molecular phylogenetics. This fungal group oomycetes; the discipline of biology devoted to the study of fungi is known as mycology. In the past, mycology was regarded as a branch of botany, although it is now known fungi are genetically more related to animals than to plants.
Abundant worldwide, most fungi are inconspicuous because of the small size of their structures, their cryptic lifestyles in soil or on dead matter. Fungi include symbionts of plants, animals, or other fungi and parasites, they may become noticeable when fruiting, either as molds. Fungi perform an essential role in the decomposition of organic matter and have fundamental roles in nutrient cycling and exchange in the environment, they have long been used in the form of mushrooms and truffles. Since the 1940s, fungi have been used for the production of antibiotics, more various enzymes produced by fungi are used industrially and in detergents. Fungi are used as biological pesticides to control weeds, plant diseases and insect pests. Many species produce bioactive compounds called mycotoxins, such as alkaloids and polyketides, that are toxic to animals including humans; the fruiting structures of a few species contain psychotropic compounds and are consumed recreationally or in traditional spiritual ceremonies.
Fungi can break down manufactured materials and buildings, become significant pathogens of humans and other animals. Losses of crops due to fungal diseases or food spoilage can have a large impact on human food supplies and local economies; the fungus kingdom encompasses an enormous diversity of taxa with varied ecologies, life cycle strategies, morphologies ranging from unicellular aquatic chytrids to large mushrooms. However, little is known of the true biodiversity of Kingdom Fungi, estimated at 2.2 million to 3.8 million species. Of these, only about 120,000 have been described, with over 8,000 species known to be detrimental to plants and at least 300 that can be pathogenic to humans. Since the pioneering 18th and 19th century taxonomical works of Carl Linnaeus, Christian Hendrik Persoon, Elias Magnus Fries, fungi have been classified according to their morphology or physiology. Advances in molecular genetics have opened the way for DNA analysis to be incorporated into taxonomy, which has sometimes challenged the historical groupings based on morphology and other traits.
Phylogenetic studies published in the last decade have helped reshape the classification within Kingdom Fungi, divided into one subkingdom, seven phyla, ten subphyla. The English word fungus is directly adopted from the Latin fungus, used in the writings of Horace and Pliny; this in turn is derived from the Greek word sphongos, which refers to the macroscopic structures and morphology of mushrooms and molds. The word mycology is derived from the Greek logos, it denotes the scientific study of fungi. The Latin adjectival form of "mycology" appeared as early as 1796 in a book on the subject by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon; the word appeared in English as early as 1824 in a book by Robert Kaye Greville. In 1836 the English naturalist Miles Joseph Berkeley's publication The English Flora of Sir James Edward Smith, Vol. 5. Refers to mycology as the study of fungi. A group of all the fungi present in a particular area or geographic region is known as mycobiota, e.g. "the mycobiota of Ireland". Before the introduction of molecular methods for phylogenetic analysis, taxonomists considered fungi to be members of the plant kingdom because of similarities in lifestyle: both fungi and plants are immobile, have similarities in general morphology and growth habitat.
Like plants, fungi grow in soil and, in the case of mushrooms, form conspicuous fruit bodies, which sometimes resemble plants such as mosses. The fungi are now considered a separate kingdom, distinct from both plants and animals, from which they appear to have diverged around one billion years ago; some morphological and genetic features are shared with other organisms, while others are unique to the fungi separating them from the other kingdoms: Shared features: With other euka