Why should we care about Basidiomycetes anyway?
Among the estimated roughly 20,000 mushroom forming species (Ainsworth and Bisby´s Dictionary of the Fungi, ed. 9; 2001) are many economically important agricultural species (mainly from the class Agaricomycetes, subphylum Agaricomycotina). Solely in China, 950 different members are known to be edible and consumed as a food, of which about 50 are commercially cultivated (Rühl and Kües 2007). Worldwide, Agaricus bisporus (champignon, white button mushroom) is the most cultivated species followed by Lentinula edodes and Pleurotus spp. . Plant pathogens, such as rusts (members of the Pucciniomycotina) and smuts (members of the Ustilaginomycotina), and some opportunistic human pathogens (from the order Filobasidiales within the subphylum Agaricomycotina) are Basidiomycetes as well.