Search This Blog

Monday, February 16, 2009

Not the usual suspect

When a person thinks about the topic of microbiology, the natural tendency is to think about the world of bacteria. I am going to try and break that barrier and talk about a type of fungus called Aspergillus flavus. I got the idea to talk about a fungus because Dr Posner, our senior seminar professor said to discuss some cool topic in microbiology rather than the other topic I had planned on doing. After I pondered the idea for a few minutes, I then had to some research on this type of fungus and found that our microbiology expert, Dr. Greene, does research projects with this fungus. I thought that this was very cool that somebody that I know works with this fungus.
My research into the characteristics of this fungus came up with some interesting results. To start off, A. flavus belongs to the genus Aspergillus. According to a mold remediation company, the genus Aspergillus includes over 185 which I thought was interesting. Around twenty species have so far been reported as causative agents of opportunistic infections in man. Among these, Aspergillus fumigatus is the most commonly isolated species, followed by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger. There are other species like Aspergillus clavatus, Aspergillus glaucus group, Aspergillus nidulans, Aspergillus oryzae, Aspergillus terreus, Aspergillus ustus, and Aspergillus versicolor which are not found too much as opportunistic pathogens. Aspergillus is a group of molds which is found world-wide, especially in the autumn and winter in the Northern hemisphere. The fungus also causes allergic diseases in asthmatics and patients suffering from cystic fibrosis. I thought this was interesting that these kids suffer from this type of fungus. On the one hand as I stated that I thought that this was interesting, I feel their pain because they are already suffering a lot from just the cystic fibrosis by itself.
Upon some additional research of this fungus, I found some other interesting facts. According to a site totally devoted to the fungus, this species has pathogenic properties. These pathogenic properties can cause problems to plants, animals, and humans. I thought an interesting fact about this fungus is that pathogenic (disease causing) properties can affect plants. I think that a fungus affecting plants is awesome because this will ensure dominance of A. flavus to a particular area. As long as the fungus dominates, the chances of other competing fungi taking over a particular area would be very slim.
The fungus also had ome other properties that were interesting to read. According the fungus devotion site, this fungus is a good nutrient recycler. The reason behind the nutrient recycler property is that this fungus can grow well on many nutrient sources. I think that this capability of nutrient recycling is phenomenal, if you can infect your enemies and grow almost anywhere then you can be unstoppable to almost anything. In conclusion, this fungus has my vote for king of the fungi world because of its defenses and ability to live almost anywhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment