A parasite is an organism which lives in or on another organism, the host from which it gets its food and shelter. The host generally belongs to a distinct species and suffers damage from the parasite. Parasites that cause diseases are termed as pathogens. Several parasites can survive and grow merely in living cells and are termed as biotrophs or Obligate Parasites. The others can infect their host and bring about its death and then live saprotrophically on the residue; they are termed as necrotrophs or facultative parasites. Fungal parasites might be obligate or facultative and more generally attack plants than animals. The hyphae penetrate via stomata, or enter directly via the cuticle or epidermis or via wounds of plants. Inside the plant hosts, the hyphae branch profusely among cells, sometimes generating pectinases (enzymes) that digest the middle lamellae of the cell walls. Afterward the cells might be killed with the aid of cellulases and toxins that digest the cell walls. Cell constituents might be absorbed directly or digested by the secretion of additional fungal enzymes.

Obligate parasites frequently possess specialized penetration and absorption tools termed as haustoria. All haustorium is a modified hyphal outgrowth with a big surface area that pushes into living cells without breaking their plasma membrane and without killing them. The Haustoria are rarely generated by facultative parasites.


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