What are the roles of fungi in nature? To provide a source of food, to decompose and recycle organic matter. Some fungi live together with other organisms in a symbiotic relationship. Other fungi such as penicillin fight disease, and still others cause disease. There are over 1.5 million species of fungus however only about 5% have been formally classified.
One that is well known is the aspergillus genus that causes the black spots of mildew on walls. It also infects human sinuses, and cavities in the lung. The index Chest X-ray is from a lady with aspergillosis and a collapsed lung caused by a ball of fungal mycelia – a mycetoma – growing in the main bronchus. It often causes a mass to grow inside a lung cavity and classically shows as a crescent or a halo of air.
Sufferers will frequently say that their diagnosis was delayed because the symptoms resemble other conditions like asthma and bronchitis. Once it is diagnosed it can be difficult to treat. This is a life changing and a life threatening condition. Worst of all, friends and family have seldom heard about it, don’t understand; don’t know how to react, or what to say. Finding support is difficult and depression is a frequent consequence.
In this image layers include fungi growing in garden mulch, water, and sky. The chest X-ray was segmented and much information discarded leaving only interesting textural components.