AskDefine | Define mycology

Dictionary Definition

mycology n : the branch of botany that studies fungi and fungus-caused diseases

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. the study of fungi, in the wide sense.


  • Finnish: mykologia
  • French: mycologie
  • Japanese: (kinruigaku)

Related terms

Extensive Definition

Mycology (from the Greek μύκης, meaning "fungus") is the study of fungi, their genetic and biochemical properties, their taxonomy, and their use to humans as a source for tinder, medicinals (e.g., penicillin), food (e.g., beer, wine, cheese, edible mushrooms) and entheogens, as well as their dangers, such as poisoning or infection. From mycology arose the field of phytopathology, the study of plant diseases, and the two disciplines remain closely related because the vast majority of plant pathogens are fungi. A biologist who studies mycology is called a mycologist.


Historically, mycology was a branch of botany (fungi are evolutionarily more closely related to animals than to plants but this was not recognized until a few decades ago). Pioneer mycologists included Elias Magnus Fries, Christian Hendrik Persoon, Anton de Bary and Lewis David von Schweinitz.
Today, the most comprehensively studied and understood fungi are the yeasts and eukaryotic model organisms Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe.
Many fungi produce toxins, antibiotics, and other secondary metabolites. For example, the cosmopolitan (worldwide) genus Fusarium and their toxins associated with fatal outbreaks of alimentary toxic aleukia in humans were extensively studied by Abraham Joffe. Fungi are fundamental for life on earth in their roles as symbionts, e.g. in the form of mycorrhizae, insect symbionts and lichens as well as their potency in breaking down complex organic biomolecules such as lignin, the more durable component of wood , as well as xenobiotics, a critical step in the global carbon cycle.
Fungi and other organisms traditionally recognized as fungi, such as oomycetes and myxomycetes (slime molds), often are economically and socially important as some cause diseases of animals (such as histoplasmosis) as well as plants (such as Dutch elm disease and Rice blast).
Field meetings to find interesting species of fungi are known as 'forays', after the first such meeting organized by the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club in 1868 and entitled "a foray among the funguses."
Some fungi can cause disease in humans or other organisms. The study of pathogenic fungi is referred to as medical mycology.


mycology in Aragonese: Micolochía
mycology in Bulgarian: Микология
mycology in Bengali: ছত্রাকবিজ্ঞান
mycology in Bosnian: Mikologija
mycology in Breton: Foueoniezh
mycology in Catalan: Micologia
mycology in Chuvash: Микологи
mycology in Czech: Mykologie
mycology in German: Mykologie
mycology in Estonian: Mükoloogia
mycology in Spanish: Micología
mycology in Esperanto: Mikologio
mycology in French: Mycologie
mycology in Irish: Míceolaíocht
mycology in Hindi: कवक विज्ञान
mycology in Indonesian: Mikologi
mycology in Icelandic: Sveppafræði
mycology in Italian: Micologia
mycology in Hebrew: מיקולוגיה
mycology in Georgian: მიკოლოგია
mycology in Latvian: Mikoloģija
mycology in Lithuanian: Mikologija
mycology in Hungarian: Mikológia
mycology in Macedonian: Микологија
mycology in Dutch: Mycologie
mycology in Japanese: 真菌学
mycology in Norwegian: Mykologi
mycology in Norwegian Nynorsk: Mykologi
mycology in Polish: Mikologia
mycology in Portuguese: Micologia
mycology in Romanian: Micologie
mycology in Russian: Микология
mycology in Slovak: Mykológia
mycology in Serbian: Микологија
mycology in Serbo-Croatian: Mikologija
mycology in Finnish: Sienitiede
mycology in Swedish: Mykologi
mycology in Turkish: Mikoloji
mycology in Ukrainian: Мікологія
mycology in Walloon: Micolodjeye
mycology in Chinese: 真菌學

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1