1) What is a Fungus?
Most people know that mushrooms have something to do with fungi, but they have trouble understanding what kind of organism a fungus actually is. Write a short essay (~ 350 words) that explains to your nonbiologist friends what a fungus is
Fungi are now in their own biological kingdom. What are their features? In other words, how do you know that you are looking at a fungus and not a plant, animal, or bacterium? Use the technical terms related to fungi and their characteristics that have been discussed in class.
Be sure to incorporate answers to these questions in your essay:
- How do fungi obtain nutrients and grow?
- What are the components of fungal cells?
- How do fungi reproduce? (Include information on their nuclei.)
Do not answer these questions individually. Write paragraphs that include answers to these questions.
2) Feeding the World with Fungi
Quorn is a meat substitute composed primarily of the fungus Fusarium venetatum, which is produced by Marlow Foods in Great Britain. It is the best-selling retail brand of meat-free food in the world and the best-selling frozen meat-free brand in U.S. natural food stores. Marlow Foods claims that Quorn is an all-natural meat substitute of high nutritional value.
Some people believe that food sources such as Quorn are the wave of the future, and will be useful in feeding the ever-growing world population. However, some people are concerned about the safety of Quorn for human consumption. Would you eat Quorn or recommend it to a vegetarian friend? Why? Write a short essay (~ 350 words) on this topic.
Here are some questions to consider:
- What is mycoprotein?
- How is Quorn produced?
- How are products such as Quorn tested for safety?
- What are possible health advantages of eating Quorn or other mycoprotein?
- What are possible health risks of eating Quorn?
- You can make the audience for the assignment someone other than yourself—for example, a vegetarian friend of the student. The selection of audience should dictate the style of writing students use.
- Opinion papers such as this can be written in several drafts: Draft 1 (evaluated but not graded) summarizes the facts; draft 2 (also evaluated but not graded) incorporates the student’s opinion, supported by the facts; and draft 3 is a polished version of draft 2, which is finally graded. Students appreciate the opportunity to get feedback on their writing and thinking before being assigned a grade. This system also provides an opportunity for students to learn to separate facts from opinions and to evaluate the biases of different sources of information.
- You can provide students with a reference list (including links), so that this is an exercise in evaluating and using information, rather than finding it. Extra credit can be given for sources with new information that students find and use in their papers.
Evaluation of Paper:
Criteria used in evaluation can include the following:
- Accuracy and completeness of factual information
- Development and support of opinion
- Overall organization and clarity
- Mechanics (e.g., spelling, grammar, sentence structure)
- Use of supporting references
Important Note: This paper has no “right” or “wrong” conclusion. The student can take either side of the issue (pro-Quorn or anti-Quorn), include the pertinent facts, and use them to support his or her position.