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Fungal Characteristics
1) Fungi can be food sources or ingredients
and go grow almost anywhere!
2) Scientists are not sure how fungi are RELATED to
other organisms, but all fungi except yeast have
many cells
3) Cell wall made of chitin
4) Heterotrophs – decomposers (MOST are
saprophytes) or parasites
5) Body is made of long filaments of hyphae which
form a mycelium and produce enzymes for digestion
6) Reproduce sexually and asexually
*Asexually by spores
*Sexually by mating of hyphae filaments from two
genetically different fungi
Kingdom Fungi
1. Phylum Zygomycota = the Bread Molds/zygospore fungi
Rhizopus – black bread mold – produce spores in round
cases called sporangia
2. Phylum Oomycota = the Water Molds
Water mold, potato blight, mildew
3. Phylum Ascomycota = the Sac/Cup Fungi
Yeast, morels, truffles – produce spores in small, saclike
structures called an ascus; yeasts reproduce by budding
4.
Phylum Basidiomycota = the Club Fungi
Mushrooms, puffballs, bracket fungi, rusts, smuts,
toadstools – produce spores in club-shaped structure
called a basidium
5. Phylum Deuteromycota = the Imperfect Fungi, e.g penicillin ~
never been observed reproducing
Zygomycota (Rhizopus) the
Common Molds
-are primarily decomposers
-asexual spores may be produced in sporangia
-sexual reproduction may occur between different strains
-only the zygote is diploid; all hyphae and asexual
spores are haploid
Zygomycota – common molds
The fungal mass of
hyphae, known as the
MYCELIUM
penetrates the bread
and produces the
fruiting bodies on top
of the stalks
Mycelia = a mass of hyphae or
filaments
Bread Mold – a
Zygomycete Fungi
Water Molds -- Oomycota
The water molds are better known as the
MILDEWS. Fish tank fuzz is an example.
Protist-like mold because share common
characteristics with plant-like protists, such
as the cell wall
Things to Know about
Oomycete Fungi
1.
2.
3.
4.
Water molds or mildews
Cause diseases such as potato blight
Cell walls made of cellulose (like plant)
Hyphae have multiple nuclei! Because
the cell walls do not fully close off.
5. Spore swims away like a flagellate, which
is why it is protist like (think of Euglena)
Irish Potato Famine of 19th Century
Devastated potato crops, causing
devastating starvation in Ireland 
Estimates of deaths in the famine
years range from 290,000 to 1,500,00
with the true figure probably lying
somewhere around 1,000,000, or 12%
of the population.
Cup Fungi – Ascomycete Fungi
Note the cup shapes and
orange peel colour
Yeast is an Ascomycete Fungus
Truffles are round, warty, fungi that
are irregular in shape. They vary
from the size of a walnut to that of a
man's fist. Since the times of the
Greeks and Romans these fungi
have been used in Europe as
delicacies, as aphrodisiacs, and as
medicines. They are among the
most expensive of the world's
natural foods, often commanding as
much as $250 to $450 per pound.
Truffles are harvested in Europe with the aid of female pigs or truffle
dogs, which are able to detect the strong smell of mature truffles
underneath the surface of the ground. The female pig becomes excited
when she sniffs a chemical that is similar to the male swine sex
attractant. The use of dogs to find truffles is also and option.
Morels are Ascomycete Fungi
Basidiomycete or Club Fungi
Bracket Fungi
Puff Balls
Basidiomycete Fungi that all
produce Basiospores
Jelly Fungi
Mushrooms
Other Basidiomycetes Rusts and
Smuts
Rust
infecting
wheat leaves
Rust infecting
a Leaf
Whitrot Smut
digesting old wood
An example of Fungi You know
Mushrooms – “Club Like” Fungi or Basidiomycete Fungi
Bracket Fungi – Basidiomycete Fungi
Deuteromycota (Imperfect Fungi)
-Regarded as imperfect because they exhibit no sexual stage has
been observed in their life cycle
-Members are not closely related and are not necessarily similar
in structure or appearance; do not share a common ancestry,
Deuteromycota – the Fungi
Imperfecti
• Resemble Ascomycetes,
but their reproductive
cycle has never been
observed
• Different from
Ascomycetes because
there is a definite lack of
sexual reproduction,
which is why they are
called Imperfect Fungi
Penicillium fungi
Up Close
Lichens
Lichens are mutualistic symbiotic organisms.
They are composed of a fungus and either a
green alga or a cyanobacterium
*Important food source
*Help rocks weather, or break down
*Indicator species ~ monitor pollution
Fruticose
Crustose
Foliose
Mycorrhizae
Mycorrhizae means “fungus-root”;
mutualistic relationship between
plant and fungi - may have
allowed plants to move from water
to land about 500 million years
ago!
The plant photosynthesizes while
the fungus more efficiently takes
up nutrients and water from the
rhizosphere than the roots would
alone.
Plant benefits include:
•Improved nutrient/water
uptake
•Improved root growth
•Improved plant growth and
yield
•Improved disease resistance
•Reduced transplant shock
•Reduced drought stress
Importance of Fungi
• Cultivated mushrooms are an important
food crop; yeast is used in baking industry
• Fungi can cause disease in plants and
animals, e.g., Dutch elm disease, apple scab
• Fungi can cause disease in humans, e.g.,
ringworm and athlete’s foot
• Produce antibiotics, e.g., penicillin
• Decomposers ~ recycle organic matter

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