Issue: Microbes and Food

07 August 2018 article

Fungi: Biology and Applications (3rd Edition)

Edited by K. Kavanagh
Wiley (2017)
£104 ISBN 978-1119374329

Fungi: Biology and Applications is in the third edition of this textbook, and maintains an excellent balance between the ease of reading of potentially complex and specific topics, while providing detail and subsequent sources of relevant information. The broad range of subject matter compiled by the editor and the internationally recognised authors makes comprehensive reading. It covers the basics of fungal physiology, through genetics and genomics/proteomics, with reference to the post-genomics era, which is particularly significant given the avalanche of information that can be generated through next-generation sequencing. The book continues by describing how fungi can be exploited by the human race, from the well-known use as a food source, to the potential production of pharmaceutical agents and chemical reagents, and the use of fungal-derived enzymes in the ever-expanding biotechnology industry.

The deleterious side of fungi is not excluded. There are chapters on fungal plant and human pathogens, with significant detail on immunity and therapy included for the latter. The chapter on fungi in the environment provides an excellent understanding on how the actions of fungi are essential to all parts of the natural environment. One topic I feel could be covered in more detail is the impact of fungal disease on animals, as the number of species at threat of extinction through relatively novel fungal disease is of global concern, and is affecting many classifications of animal life.

Overall, the book provides an excellent addition to the library of those interested in the field of mycology, whether novice or expert, and the inclusion of the colour plates certainly adds a little zest.

P. Lewis White

UKCMN Regional Mycology Reference Laboratory, Public Health Wales Microbiology Cardiff