The Role of Fungi in the Ecosystem

08/01/2013 by Keith Fletcher

Decomposition is the most important function performed by fungi in nature. Many fungi produce enzymes (protein catalysts) capable of attacking the most stubborn waste

materials, such as cellulose and lignin (major components of wood). Without their activities the decaying process would be slowed down significantly and the fertility of the soil drastically reduced.

Many plants will not prosper without fungi. A symbiotic or mutually beneficial relationship is formed between the roots of the plants and fungal hyphae (filaments) which allows the plant to take up minerals it would otherwise not obtain. The fungi benefit by being supplied with sugars from photosynthesis and by being able to shelter inside the plant roots in the dry sumer months.