Concluding Remarks

Fungal populations are intimately involved in biogeo-chemical transformations at local and global scales, such transformations occurring in aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Within terrestrial aerobic ecosystems, fungi may exert an especially profound influence on biogeochemical processes, especially when considering soil, rock, and mineral surfaces, and the plant root-soil interface. Of special significance in this regard are lichens and mycorrhizas. Key processes include organic matter decomposition and element cycling, rock and mineral transformations, bioweathering, metal and metalloid transformations, and formation of mycogenic minerals. Some fungal transformations have beneficial applications in environmental biotechnology, for example, in metal leaching, recovery and detoxification, and xenobiotic and organic pollutant degradation. They may also result in adverse effects when these processes are associated with the degradation of foodstuffs, natural products, and building materials, including wood, stone, and concrete.

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