Fungi that feed on living plants and animals are called parasites. Many parasites damage and even kill the plant and animal they live on. Parasitic fungi are responsible for many diseases that damage our plants and crops, causing leaf sports and the rotting of roots, seeds and fruits.
Some also cause diseases in animals and human beings. Ringworm and athlete’s foot are two skin diseases we get that are caused by fungal parasites.
But some fungal parasites that cause diseases in insects and weeds can actually help us. We use them as biological control agents. This means we use them to kill weeds and insects that harm our crops. In this way, they help to protect our crops.