Section 3

Fungi and Humans

• Fungi can cause disease in humans when humans inhale airborne spores, when they eat food contaminated by toxic fungi, when toxic fungi come in contact with skin, or when they accidentally eat poisonous mushrooms.

• Pathogenic fungi that cause serious disease include Histoplasma capsulatum, Blastomyces dermatitidis, and Coccidioides immitis. H. capsulatum is associated with bird feces.

• Various fungi are used in the production of vitamin B2, cortisone, penicillin and other antibiotics, and some genetically engineered drugs.

• Fungi are used in the production of familiar foods such as cheeses, bread, beer, wines, and soy products.

Vocabulary aflatoxin (p. B3B)

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