Fungi, Biology tutorial


Fungi belongs to the kingdom of eukaryotic (that is, their cells contain nuclei) organisms. Common fungi comprise mushrooms, molds and yeasts. Fungi are very necessary in decaying dead organic matter in the soil and devoid of them; biological reject would take much longer to degrade, making it complex for the later generation of organisms to make use of the necessary elements in that. However fungi might appear like plants, they are in fact more closely associated to animals. The study of mushrooms is termed as mycology.

The biologist's faces problem regarding fungi kingdom as they represent both animal and plants features.

In the other modern categorization, the fungi are classified into two kingdoms. One encompasses the slime moulds (exhibiting more animal-like features) and the rest of the fungi (exhibiting more plant-like features). The kingdom has been classified into five classes these are:

  • Class one: Myxomycetes or slime fungi
  • Class two: Phycomycetes example: pythium
  • Class three: Astomycetes or sac fungi example: yeast
  • Class four: Basidiomycetes or club fungi example: Ustilago
  • Class five: Deuteromycetes or fungi imperfecti example: Helminthosporium and Fusarium

The main features of fungi that set them apart from other organisms are their chitinous cell walls. The durable material named chitin, as well make up the shell of numerous insects. Fungi tend to nurture in filamentous structures termed as mycelium and reproduce either asexually or sexually by means of spores. In mushrooms, the spores are able to be seen as black dust beneath the cap.

Fungi distinct from bacteria in encompass a cell nucleus; from plants in not preparing their own food via the procedure of photosynthesis and from animals in not being movable and in absorbing nutrition externally instead internally.

General features of Fungi:

1) They are simple multi-cellular, non-green plants.

2) The vegetative body (that is, hyphae) is together termed as mycelium.

3) The body is not distinguished into root, stem and leaves.

4) The cell wall is composed of chitin and cellulose.

5) Reproduction is through spores.

6) They are either parasitic or saprophytic. It comprise: Mucor, Rhizopus and Penicillium.

7) Carbohydrate is stored in the form of glycogen and not starch just as in the animals.

8) Several fungi form association with the algae (as in the lichens).

Structure of Fungi:

The structure of Fungi might be single-celled or multi-cellular.

Multi-cellular fungi are comprised of networks of long hollow tubes termed as hyphae. The hyphae frequently aggregate in a dense network termed as mycelium. The mycelium grows via the medium on which the fungus feeds. Since the fungi are embedded in the medium in which they grow, most frequently soil, they are often not able to be seen.

However fungi lack true organs, the mycelia might become organized into more complicated reproductive structures termed as fruiting bodies, or sporocarps, if circumstances are correct. 'Mushroom' is one of the common names given to the above-ground fruiting bodies of several fungal species.

Nutrition in Fungi:

Dissimilar to green plants, fungi contain no green pigments (that is, chlorophyll) in their cells. They as well don't encompass specialized structures similar to mouth for capturing food. Therefore, fungi can't prepare their own food.

Yet, fungi exhibit two modes of nutrition. A few fungi live in, or on the tissues of other living organisms and from there they obtain their nutrients directly through absorbing such via their hyphac which ramify the host tissue or substrate. This process of mode of nutrition is stated to be parasitic. The host doesn't get advantage from this relationship, and in fact, might eventually be killed.

In some other fungi, as the hyphae grow up on some dead or decomposing matter, plentiful amounts of enzymes are emitted into such matter. The composite food in the decomposing matter is digested into simpler and readily absorbable forms. In this manner, the hyphae of the fungus now take up the soluble food. This means of nutrition is stated to be saprophytic.


Fungi might reproduce asexually or sexually. In asexual reproduction method, the offspring are genetically similar to the 'parent' organism (that is, they are clones). All through sexual reproduction, a combination of genetic material takes place so that the offspring show attributes of both parents. Most of the species can employ both strategies at various times, whereas others are apparently strictly asexual or sexual. The Sexual reproduction has not been viewed in some of the fungi of Ascomycota and Glomeromycota. These are generally termed to as Fungi Deuteromycota or imperfecti.

Some of the other unicellular fungi or yeast can reproduce by just budding or pinching off a new cell. There are many multi-cellular species are there which generate a range of various asexual spores which are simply dispersed and defiant to harsh ecological conditions. If the conditions are accurate then such spores will grow and inhabit new habitats.

Animal Diseases caused by Fungi:

a) Ringworm: It is caused by Epidermophyton situated between outer and inner layers of the skin


Circular red patch made on the part of the infected skin. Afterward outer circular patch turns dark red. Small scales fall from the outer skin. Severe itching, troubling sleep and general discomfort.

Hair Ringworm causes hair to fall off.


  • Excellent personal cleanliness
  • Ignore wearing wet clothes and shoes.
  • Ignore contact with the infected person and his possessions.
  • Spray infected materials with fungicides.
  • Concern with a medical doctor for medical suggestion and treatment.

b) Athlete's Foot: As well termed as Tinto pedis is situated between skin and toes.


  • Skin among toes becomes whitish.
  • At higher stage, itching and pains. Offensive odor is formed.


  • Keep your feet hygienic and dry all the time after bathing.
  • Rub dusting powder among toes.
  • Wear loose shoes or open sandals.

Advantages of Fungi to Man:

1) In Medicine: Antibiotics (in the form of syrup, capsules and injection) have been made from saprophytic fungi for the cure of bacterial diseases, like gonorrhea, tuberculosis, cholera and dysentery.

2) In Industry:

a) Alcoholic industry:

Yeast is extremely significant in the manufacture of industrial spirit and drinks. Yeast breaks down sugar to alcohol and carbon-dioxide. This is termed as fermentation.

b) Bread Industry:

In bread baking, yeast is employed. Yeast generates carbon-dioxide that causes the dough to increase, making the bread spongy and simple to digest.

c) Fungi:

They are employed to ferment tobacco; in curing of tobacco the carbohydrates in fresh leaves of tobacco are fermented by fungi to generate the special aromatic flavor and as well for the retting of flax to get the linen fibers.

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