2What Are Fungi?Fungi are a very diverse group of organisms, but all fungi share three characteristics:Fungi have threadlike bodiesFungal cell walls contain chitinFungi absorb nutrients from their environment
3What Are Fungi?A fungus body is made of long, slender filaments. The filaments weave more tightly to form reproductive structures, like mushrooms and brackets.Fungi have cell walls that contain chitin. Chitin is a tough carbohydrate that is also found in the hard outer covering of insects and other organisms.Fungi obtain energy by breaking down organic and inorganic material in their environment and absorbing the nutrients.
4Structure and Function Most of the body of a fungus is hidden in the ground or in the substance that the fungus feeds on.The filaments allow the fungus to have a large surface area and to absorb nutrients efficiently.
6Structure and Function, continued Body StructureThe threadlike strands of a fungus body are called hyphae (singular, hypha).In some fungi, these cells do not have walls that separate the cells. Others fungi have partial cell walls, called septa.Gaps in the septa allow cytoplasm, nutrients, and some organelles to flow through the hyphae.
8Structure and Function, continued Body StructureHyphae form a tangled mass, often many meters long, called a mycelium.In some fungi, hyphae also form rootlike structures, called rhizoids, that hold the fungus in place and absorb nutrients.
10Structure and Function, continued Obtaining NutrientsFungi release enzymes that break down organic and inorganic matter into nutrients.Fungi absorb the nutrients across their cell walls.
11Structure and Function, continued Obtaining NutrientsFungi that absorb nutrients from living hosts are called parasites.In humans, fungal parasites sometimes cause diseases, such as athlete’s foot and ringworm.
12Reproduction Sexual Reproduction Sexual reproduction occurs when hyphae from one fungus fuse with hyphae from a fungus of the opposite mating type.The fused hyphae then form a reproductive structure, such as the mushroom.Inside the structure, nuclei from the two mating types fuse.These diploid nuclei undergo meiosis and produce haploid spores that are released.
13Reproduction, continued Asexual ReproductionIn fungi, asexual reproduction occurs when specialized hyphae produce haploid spores by mitosis.The fungi that develop from these spores are genetically identical to the parent.Fungi that do not have an observed sexual stage are grouped together and called imperfect fungi.
14Groups of FungiChytrid FungiZygote FungiClub FungiSac Fungi
15Chytrid FungiThe chytrids are a group of aquatic fungi that provide clues about the evolution of fungi.Chytrids were once classified with protists because the two groups share two important characteristics.Like protists, many chytrids are unicellularLike protists, chytrids produce spores and gametes that have flagella.
16Chytrid Fungi, continued Chytrids are now classified with fungi because chytrids have several important fungal characteristics.Chytrids have chitin in their cell walls.Chytrids digest food outside their bodies.Most chytrids produce hyphae that form rhizoids.The sexual reproductive structures of chytrids contain spores.
17Chytrid Fungi, continued Most chytrids are aquatic, although some live in moist places on land.They are mainly saprobes, which feed on dead algae or plants.Some chytrids are parasites that feed on protists, plants, animals, or even other fungi.
18Zygote FungiZygote fungi are named for sexual reproductive structures that produce zygotes inside a tough capsule.Sexual reproduction in zygote fungi begins when hyphae from two mating types come together.In fungi, different mating types are not referred to as male and female, because they are physically identical. Instead, they are called “+” and “-.”Asexual reproduction is more common than sexual reproduction in zygote fungi.
19Sac FungiSac fungi are characterized by an ascus, a saclike sexual reproductive structure that produces spores.The word ascus means “sac.”Sexual reproduction in sac fungi is similar to sexual reproduction in zygote fungi.
20Club FungiClub fungi are characterized by a basidium, a clublike sexual reproductive structure that produces spores.Sexual reproduction of club fungi is very similar to that of sac fungi.Hyphae from two mating types fuse and produce a dikaryotic reproductive structure called a basidiocarp.A mushroom is one example of a basidiocarp.
21Club Fungi, continuedBasidiocarps often form at the outer edges of the large mycelial mats that club fungi produce. The mycelia grow out from a central starting point and form an expanding ring of hyphae.When the fungus reproduces sexually, a ring of mushrooms appears.The largest known organism on the planet is a club fungus in Oregon that is 3.5 miles across.
22Fungal PartnershipsFungi form mutualistic symbiotic associations to form lichens and mycorrhizae.In a mutualistic relationship, both members benefit.A lichen is an association between a fungus and a photosynthetic partner, such as a cyanobacterium, a green alga, or both.The photosynthetic partner provides carbohydrates to the fungus. The fungus provides a protected environment, vitamins, and minerals.Lichens can survive in extreme environments, such as on volcanic rock and arctic tundra.Lichens can be damaged by chemicals in their environment and serve as indicators of air pollution.
23Fungal Partnerships, continued A mycorrhiza is an association between fungi and the roots of nearly all plants.The fungal hyphae grow inside or around the plant root and out into the soil.The hyphae transfer phosphorus and other minerals from the soil to the roots of the plant.The plant supplies carbohydrates to the fungus.
24SummaryFungi have threadlike bodies, their cell walls are made of chitin, and they absorb nutrients from their environment.A typical fungal body is made of filaments that allow the fungus to have a large surface area and to absorb nutrients efficiently.In sexual reproduction in fungi, spores are produced by meiosis. In asexual reproduction in fungi, spores are produced by mitosis.
25Summary continuedThe chytrids are a group of aquatic fungi that provide clues about the evolution of fungi.Zygote fungi are named for sexual reproductive structures that produce zygotes inside a tough capsule.Sac fungi are characterized by an ascus, a saclike sexual reproductive structure that produces spores.
26Summary, continuedClub fungi are characterized by a basidium, a clublike sexual reproductive structure that produces spores.Fungi form mutualistic symbiotic associations to form lichens and mycorrhizae.