Fungi are eukaryotic and heterotrophic organisms. Fungi is a large and successful group of organisms with 1 lakh species. The branch of Biology which deals with the study of fungi is called mycology. Fungi are found in damp, organic matter such as bread, leather, vegetation, etc. Some fungi are parasitic on animals.
Status of Fungi
- They are spore-bearing.
- They are achlorophyllous.
- Generally, reproduce sexually and asexually.
- Usually filamentous and branched.
- The cell wall is made up of chitin and cellulose.
- They are heterotrophic, cannot be injured solid like animals.
- Obtain nutrients by absorbing soluble inorganic and organic material.
General characteristics of Fungi
- A lack of chlorophyll branched or filamentous hyphae form a net-like structure known as mycelium.
- The Fungi parasitic fungi having the specialized hyphae called haustoria through this day penetrates in the host cell and absorb nutrients.
- The hyphae have a rigid wall made up of chitin.
- Inside the cytoplasm the eukaryotic organelles such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi bodies, ribosomes, and vacuoles are present.
- In the older hyphae, vacuoles are formed which is confined to attend the peripheral layer.
- The cells are devoid of chlorophyll but carotenoids are present.
- Fungi of kingdom fungi have a vegetative and reproductive phase.
On the basis of nutrition there at three types of fungi in the kingdom fungi:-
Those fungi who obtain their food from dead and decaying matter.
Those fungi obtain their food from other living organisms.
Those fungi which grow on other living organisms and mutually benefited.
Classification of Kingdom Fungi
This classification is based on the following:-
- Thallus organization and a cell wall composed.
- Presence or absence of sexual reproduction.
- Nature of the life cycle.
- Fungi are divided into four groups:-
- Also known as conjugation fungi.
- They are terrestrial.
- The thallus is well developed branched and filamentous.
- The hyphae are aseptate and coenocytic.
- They produce oidia.
- The largest group of higher fungi is also known as sac fungi.
- Due to the presence of a reproductive sac, it is called as ascus in which ascospores are formed.
- Ascospores help in asexual reproduction.
- Some Ascomycota does not have a sexual cycle and thus they do not form ascospores.
- Example: Yeast, Black or Green molds, Cup fungi, Morals, Truffles.
- Commonly known as club fungi.
- They bear meiospores.
- Basidia helps in sexual reproduction.
- They are filamentous fungi and composed of hyphae.
- Example: Mushrooms, Puffballs, Bracket fungi, etc.
- Also known as imperfect fungi.
- Only asexual reproduction takes place.
- Produces spores known as sporogenesis.
- These fungi do not fit into commonly established taxonomic classification.
- Example: Alternaria, Colletotrichum, Trichoderma, etc.
Economic Importance of Fungi
- Fungi are important for the brewing and baking industries.
- Species of fungi are used in the production of organic acid, enzymes, fats, vitamins, and antibiotics.
- Fungi are an important source of vitamin B and D.
- Fungi are helpful in agricultural and environmental decomposition.
- Some fungi are also used as food.
- Fungi are also used as an experimental organism.
- Some Yeast causes skin diseases and respiratory infectious diseases.
- Some saprophytic fungi cause the destruction of timbers.
- Many fungi are used in biological warfare.
- Electronic equipment, paper, cloth, hemp, jute, leather, rubber, and other optical instruments are spoiled by fungi.
- Fungi are responsible for a number of diseases in plants and animals.
- Common heart rot fungi of Indian forests are mainly species of foams.
It is a symbiotic relationship in which algae and fungi live together and both are benefitted.
Types of Lichens
- Having poorly developed thallus.
- Attached to the substratum.
- It has a crust-like appearance.
- Flat leaf-like structure.
- Expanded body.
- Attached to the substratum with the help of rhizoids.
- Shrubby-like lichen.
- Thallus well developed and branched.
- They grow erect.