Kingdom Monera Protoctista and Fungi: Position, Characteristics and Main Kinds of Fungi (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Position of Fungi

During warm humid days slices of bread, chapatti, leather belts or shoes, etc. develop powdery layer on them. In lawns and flower beds, mushrooms come out. These are all fungi. This is a eukaryotic single-celled or multiciliate organism that lives by decomposing and absorbing the organic material in which they grow, comprising the mushrooms, molds, mildews, smuts, rusts and yeasts and classified in the kingdom Fungi.

Characteristics of Fungi

Fungi are eukaryotic organisms and non-vascular organisms. The vegetative body of the fungi may be unicellular or composed of microscopic threads called hyphae. Fungi cell wall is composed of chitin and heterotrophic organisms. During mitosis the nuclear envelope is not dissolved. Nutrition in fungi is saprophytes, or parasites or symbionts. Reproduction in fungi is both by sexual and asexual. Fungi are eukaryotic, multicellular saprotrophs having filaments which grow through soil, wood and other substrates.

Four Main Kinds of Fungi

Image Showing Yeast Structure
Image Showing Four Kind of Fungi
  1. Yeasts: Yeasts are fungi that grow as single cells, producing daughter cells either by budding or by binary fission.

Nutrition of Yeast: heterotrophic and saprophytic in nature. Yeast protoplasm secretes two types of enzymes; in invertase, hydrolyses cane sugar (sucrose) to dextrose or inner sugar, this diffuses into cytoplasm through semipermeable membrane. It is used as a food while in Zymase, converts rest of the sugars into CO2 and alcohol by a process known as fermentation.

Reproduction: Yeast reproduces asexually by budding. In this process the protoplasm of the cell, covered by a thin membrane, pushes out of the cell wall in the form of a bud and forms a daughter cell. The bud enlarges and receives the mitochondria which migrate from the parent mother cell much before the nucleus.

Image Showing Yeast Reproduce by Budding

Yeast also reproduces sexually by conjugation between two yeast cells.

  1. Slime moulds: They lack chlorophyll, surrounded by the plasma membrane only, saprophytes and have phagotrophic mode of nutrition. Asexual and sexual modes of reproduction are present and resemble with protozoa and the true fungi.
  2. Mushrooms and Toadstools: Mushroom is a type of fungus, usually shaped like an umbrella, many of which are edible. Toadstool is any of several mushroom-like funguses, some of which are poisonous.
Image Showing Structure of Mashrooms
  1. Lichens: Lichens comprise a fungus living in a symbiotic relationship with an alga or cyanobacterium; the green algae prepare food while the fungi give protection.

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