This kingdom comprises single-celled ( yeast ) or multicellular ( molds and mushrooms ) organisms , which do not contain chlorophyll, that is, they are heterotrophs.
They develop in humid environments , with organic matter and low light. Multicellular fungi are formed by long cells in the form of filaments (hyphae), which, in turn, intertwine forming a continuous mass with many nuclei (mycelium). Fungi, together with bacteria, play a very important role in the decomposition of organic matter, through the synthesis of highly active enzymes.
- Learn more about the Fungi Kingdom
- How does fungi reproduce?
- How are fungi classified?
- What is the importance of fungi?
- Fungus: The largest living thing on the planet?
Learn more about the Fungi Kingdom
Fungi are eukaryotic organisms, that is, they have a library that separates the cell nucleus from the cytoplasm. They have a cell wall composed of chitin and store glycogen as an energy reserve substance, just like animals. They are found in different environments (terrestrial and aquatic), and can be parasites, free-living, decomposers or even live mutually associated with other organisms.
Fungi promote the return of inorganic compounds to the environment (Photo: depositphotos)
How does fungi reproduce?
The reproduction of fungi can be sexed or asexual . Asexual reproduction occurs through modified hyphae cells, capable of producing genetically identical spores. Under favorable environmental conditions, these spores germinate and produce new hyphae, in a process called sporulation .
Some multicellular fungi can also reproduce asexually by fragmentation . In this case, the dry hyphae detaches, releasing cells that act as spores and give rise to other hyphae. Asexual reproduction can also occur by sprouting in single-celled fungi, such as yeasts, where the buds come off the original cell to form new cells.
See also: Protista Kingdom
Sexual reproduction also occurs through spores, starting through the fusion of the haploid hyphae, giving rise to diploid hyphae that divide and, through meiosis, form genetically diverse spores. During sexual reproduction, many species form a reproductive structure called the fruiting body , which corresponds to what is popularly known as a mushroom .
How are fungi classified?
Fungi are classified into four main groups:
- Basidiomycetes: These are fungi that form fruiting bodies in the shape of a hat (mushrooms), they can be multicellular or unicellular. Examples of this category are edible mushrooms of the Champignon type , wood ears, rust and coals.
- Ascomycetes: They are fungi that form reproductive structures in the form of bags, they can be unicellular or filamentous. Examples are dark, blue-green and red molds, which are among the main responsible for food rot.
- Zygomycetes: They are multicellular fungi that do not form fruiting bodies. As an example, there is black mold, one of the species best known for being found in spoiled foods.
- Chytridiomycetes: They are fungi that have a flagellum at some stage of their life cycle, they can be unicellular or multicellular and most are found in aquatic environments.
What is the importance of fungi?
Fungi are extremely important in the environment, because together with bacteria, they are responsible for the decomposition of organic matter, that is, they promote the return of inorganic compounds to the environment , so that they can be reused.
See also: Reino Plantae
Fungi also make a great economic contribution, being used in direct food ( champignons ), in the manufacture of food (cheese, bread), in the synthesis of beverages through alcoholic fermentation (wine, beer), in the production of motor fuels (ethanol) and in the manufacture of antibiotics , such as penicillin, one of the main antibiotics used to fight bacterial diseases.
Fungus: The largest living thing on the planet?
Popularly known as the Honey Mushroom , the fungus Armillaria ostoyae has its microscopic origin and can measure up to four kilometers in diameter. It is the largest living organism on the planet and is found under the soil of the Malheur National Forest, in the eastern part of the United States.
Currently, the fungus covers an area of approximately 880 hectares, equivalent to 1,220 football fields. It is a parasitic fungus capable of colonizing and killing many plant species, directly attacking its roots. This fungus is also widely used in gastronomy, it must be well prepared and cooked, as it has some toxic effects.