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Los Angeles, CA 90057
Tel. (213) 484-0040

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11540 Santa Monica Blvd.
Second Floor - Suite #203
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel. (310) 477-9210
 

Fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes micro-organisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. The Fungi are classified as a kingdom that is separate from plants, animals and bacteria. One major difference is that fungal cells have cell walls that contain chitin, unlike the cell walls of plants, which contain cellulose. These and other differences show that the fungi form a single group of related organisms, named the Eumycota (true fungi or Eumycetes), that share a common ancestor (a monophyletic group). This fungal group is distinct from the structurally similar slime molds (myxomycetes) and water molds (oomycetes). The discipline of biology devoted to the study of fungi is known as mycology, which is often regarded as a branch of botany, even though genetic studies have shown that fungi are more closely related to animals than to plants.

Fungi have a worldwide distribution, and grow in a wide range of habitats, including extreme environments such as deserts or areas with high salt concentrations or ionizing radiation, as well as in deep sea sediments. Some can survive the intense UV and cosmic radiation encountered during space travel.

Mycology is the branch of biology concerned with the systematic study of fungi , including their genetic and biochemical properties, their taxonomy, and their use to humans as a source of medicine, food, and psychotropic substances consumed for religious purposes, as well as their dangers, such as poisoning or infection. The field of phytopathology, the study of plant diseases, is closely related because many plant pathogens are fungi .

Some fungi can cause serious diseases in humans, several of which may be fatal if untreated. These include aspergilloses, candidoses, coccidioidomycosis, cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, mycetomas, and paracoccidioidomycosis.

Other fungi can attack eyes, nails, hair, and especially skin, the so-called dermatophytic and keratinophilic fungi , and cause local infections such as Toenail Fungus , ringworm and athlete?s foot. Fungal spores are also a cause of allergies.

Many species produce metabolites that are major sources of pharmacologically active drugs. Particularly important are the antibiotics, including the penicillins.

Other antibiotics produced by fungi include: griseofulvin from Penicillium griseofulvin used to treat dermatophyte infections of the skin, hair and nails.