Introduction to Mycota (Fungi)

Fungi are non-vascular and non-green organisms. Mycology is the branch of biology that deals with fungi. The person who specializes in this branch is called a mycologist.

General Characteristics of Fungi

  • They are the a-chlorophyllous heterotrophic group of organisms.
  • Mode of nutrition is heterotrophic including saprophytic, parasitic, symbiotic.
  • Mostly they grow in dead and decaying organic matter and parasitic grow in the body of other living organisms.
  • They are eukaryotic multicellular organisms except yeast.
  • Body structure consists of the fine thin thread like tubular white colony mass which is called mycelium. Unit structure of mycelium is called hyphae.
  • The cell wall is made up of chitin.
  • Reserve food material is in the form of glycogen and lipid.
  • Vegetative reproduction occurs by fragmentation, budding and fission.
  • Asexual reproduction takes place by formation of several types of spores like sporangiospore, chlamydospore, oidia, conidia etc.
  • Sexual reproduction takes place by the fusion of gametes and zygote is formed.
  • Embryo formation is absent.

Resemblances between algae and fungi

  • Both algae and fungi are found in aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats.
  • Both algae and fungi have thallus bodies. Their bodies are not differentiated into root, stem and leaves.
  • The vascular tissues are absent.
  • They reproduce by the spores during favourable conditions.
  • Sex organs are unicellular, simple and non-jacketed.
  • An embryo is not formed after fertilisation.
  • Asexual reproduction by mitospores is quite common.

Difference between algae and fungi

Algae Fungi
Algae are grown in aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats. Fungi are grown in aquatic and terrestrial habitat.
They are autotrophs. They are heterotrophs, either saprophyte, parasites or symbiotic.
They grow in the light environment. They grow in dark, dim or diffuse light.

The cell wall is made up of cellulose.

Cell wall is composed of chitin or fungus cellulose.
Filaments, if present may be branched or unbranched. Filaments or hyphae are usually branched.
Chlorophyll and accessory pigments are present. Chlorophyll and accessory pigments are absent.
The reserved food material is starch. The reserved food material is glycogen and oil globules.
Asexual reproduction normally occurs by zoospores. Zoospores are rare.
Motility of the gametes is very rare. Gametes are motile.

Habitat:

Fungi are found in all sorts of habitats where organic matter is present. Fungi can be seen growing on leather goods, wood, clothes, preserved pickles, jam, jelly, humus rich soil, dung of animals etc.

Nutrition:

Fungi are heterotrophs. They depend on readymade food like some animals and bacteria do. Their nutrition involves the absorption of soluble substances. Fungi have a parasitic, saprophytic and symbiotic mode of nutrition.

Fungi as parasitic

The parasites which live entirely on the living protoplasm of the host and die with the death of host is called obligate parasites. Example; Erypsiphe, Albugo etc. The parasites which are able to make their food from dead and decaying body of the host is called the facultative parasite. Eg; Some smuts

Fungi as saprophytic:

Fungi that absorb food from dead or decaying organic matters is called saprophytic fungi. The fungi which die without decaying organic matters are called obligate saprophytes. Eg; Mucor mucedo. The fungi which lives parasitically are called facultative parasites.

Symbiotic fungi:

Fungi that grow in the long lasting beneficial association with the higher plants are called symbiotic fungi. This mutual relationship is named mycorrhiza. The participants are called symbionts.

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source: rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org

Symbiotic fungi

 

  • Fungi are found in all sorts of habitats where organic matter is present. 
  • Fungi that absorb food from dead or decaying organic matters is called saprophytic fungi. 
  • Fungi that grow in the long lasting beneficial association with the higher plants are called symbiotic fungi. 
  • They are eukaryotic multicellular organisms except yeast.
  • Body structure consists of a fine thin thread like tubular white colony mass which is called mycelium. Unit structure of mycelium is called hyphae.
  • They are a-chlorophyllous heterotrophic group of organisms.

 

 

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