What is a fungi?

Mycology: Study of fungi

  • Most are many-celled
  • Some are single-celled
  • Body is made of HYPHAE - thread like, many-celled tubes that produce enzymes to help break down food outside the fungus
  • SAPROPHYTES - organism that obtains foo by absorbing dead or decaying tissues of other organisms
  • Some are PARASITES: obtain their food directly from living things.
  • They DO NOT have roots, leaves or chlorophyll


SPORES: waterproof reproductive cell that can grow into a new organism.

  • Asexual reproduction via mitosis: offspring is genetically identical to parent
  • Sexual reproduction via hyphae joining
  • Neither male or female, + or -

Classes of Fungi

- Based on what type of structure is produced when hyphae join in sexual reproduction.


  • Mushrooms
  • Mushroom = the reproductive struture of the fungus
  • Hyphae gow in soil or on surface of its food source
  • Spores are produced in club-shaped structures called BASIDIUM


  • Yeast, molds, morels, truffles: 30,000 species
  • Spores are in a saclike structure called an ASCUS
  • Yeasts are single-celled. Reproduce sexually by forming spores an asexually by budding.
  • BUDDING - form of asexual reproduction in which a new organism forms on the side of a parent organism. Genetically identical.


  • Fuzzy black mold on bread
  • SPORAGNIUM - round spore case produced on the tips of upright hyphae

IMPERFECT FUNGI - no observed sexual reproduction


LICHENS: organism that is made of a fungus and a green alga or a cyanobacterium. Mutually beneficial relationship. Fungus gets food made by the algae or cyanobacterium. Algae gets a moist, protected place to live.

  • Important food source for caribou, musk ox & others
  • Part of the weathering and succession process.
  • Part of soil formation.
  • Sued as an indicator organism to monitor pollution.

MYCORRHIZAE - fungal interaction with plant roots that help the plant absorb more nutrients from the soil. Some plants can't grow with out mycorrhizae.


  • Edible Mushrooms
  • Yeast -> Bread
  • Cheese
  • Disease: Dutch elm disease, apple scab, smuts & rust


  • Ringworm & Athlete's foot
  • Penicillin is grown by an imperfect fungi
  • Cyclosporine - rug used to help fight a body's rejection of transplanted organs



Created with images by rottonara - "fungus forest mushrooms"

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