Historical Interest in Fungi

What is the scientific study of fungi called?

The scientific study of fungi (plural for fungus) is called mycology, from the Greek word mycote, meaning “fungus.” The first scientific mention of a fungus was in Europe during the mid-1500s—the potato “late blight” (Phytophthora infestans) that was introduced from South America, devastating the potato crops; this blight was first recorded in the United States in 1830. Interestingly enough, the late blight was eventually found to be not caused by a fungus, but by a protist. (For more about late blight, see the chapter “Bacteria, Viruses, and Protists.”)


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