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General Fungi Characteristics

fungi - studied by mycologists 

  • divided into chytrids, zygomycetes, basidiomycetes, asomycetes
  • more closely related to animals than plants
  • heterotrophs that live on their food (secretes digestive enzymes)
    • hydrolytic enzymes - breaks down food, lets hyphae grow into food
  • multicellular fungi consist of hyphae (long/slender filaments)
  • dikaryon stage - in sexually reproducing fungi
    • 2 haploid cells coexist in a single cell for a short period of time
  • chitin in cell walls
  • mitosis takes place within nucleus (envelope doesn’t dissolve), like protists

fungus structure - made up of hyphae 

  • hyphae - made up of cell chains divided by septa (cross-walls)
    • technically still considered a single cell
    • cytoplasm flows freely through filament >> easy for growth
    • only grows in length
    • haustoria - penetrates land, stays outside
  • mycelium - mass of hyphae
  • hyphae rapidly expands >> reproductive structures form quickly
  • spindle apparatus forms within nucleus
    • no centrioles used

fungi reproduction - cells can hold more than 1 nucleus 

  • monokaryotic - 1 nucleus
  • dikaryotic - 2 haploid nuclei (exists independently of each other)
  • heterokaryotic - hyphae w/ nuclei from distinct individuals
  • homokaryotic - hyphae w/ genetically similar nuclei
  • can produce sexual/asexual spores
  • hyphae fuse in sexual reproduction
  • reproductive structures closed off from rest of fugae by septa w/ blocked pores
  • small spore size >> ability to be suspended in air >> rapid spread of disease

fungi metabolism - absorbs food through external digestion 

  • unicellular fungi have greatest SA-to-volume ratio among fungi >> max absorption area
  • can digest lignin/cellulose from plant cell walls, nematodes
  • used to make fermented goods (soy sauce, miso, wine, cheeses)
  • yeast - unicellular fungi
    • breaks down glucose to ethanol, carbon dioxide
  • able to break down any compound w/ carbon in presence of water
  • bioremediation - using organisms to degrade toxins, clean the environment
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