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All Fungi Are Not the Same

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Casey Vincent
Fungi Essay
Not All Fungi Are the Same All fungi are unique in their own way and each represents something new and exciting within the world. As new fungi are discovered and more is becoming known about the existing fungi our knowledge is growing and helping us to live a better life. A few of the fungi studied about are zygomycota, ascomycota, and basidiomycota, which will be discussed in further detail throughout this paper. Zygomycota are also known as “conjugation fungi” and make up only about 1% of known fungi species (Zygomycota). These fungi can reproduce both sexually and asexually; when asexual they spread by a sporangium breaking open and allowing the sporangiospores to spread out, if the spores come in contact with a suitable medium they begin to grow. Zygomycota produce zygospores when they reproduce sexually, this occurs when the nuclei of two cells morphologically similar fuse together. Nutrients are obtained by the fungi by decomposing soil, plant matter, and dung of either animal or fungal origin (Clark, Curtis 2010; Zygomycota). This fungi phylum plays a major role in the carbon cycle because of its ability to decompose items within the environment (Clark, Curtis 2010). Zygomycota are also used to control some insects and can be used for fermentation (Clark, Curtis 2010). Common black bread mold called Rhizopus stolnifer is an example of asexual producing Zygomycota. Approximately 75% of all fungi are ascomycota fungi, also known as “sac fungi” because they produce a saclike structure called an ascus (Taylor, J., Spatafora, J., Berbee,M. 2006). Like the zygomycota, ascomycota can also produce both asexually and sexually. The asexual form of ascomycota is usually condida that is produced in long chains, these asexual spores detach themselves from the chains and float in the air, much like dust, until they land on an acceptable host and begin to grow again. Ascospores, the sexual spores of ascomycota, form when two nuclei of morphologically similar or dissimilar fuse together. Medicines such as penicillin are produced using ascomycota, as well as some types of baking and brewing yeast. The phylum ascomycota is very important to the human race because it allowed for life saving medications to be made and also made it possible for different foods to be produced through the use of yeast (Taylor, J., Spatafora, J., Berbee,M. 2006). With all the good that came from the ascomycota phylum also came some bad such as Candida albicans which is responsible for causing different types of fungal/yeast infections such as thrush in infants. These fungi receive nutrients from dead or living organisms and play a huge role in recycling dead plant material (Taylor, J., Spatafora, J., Berbee,M. 2006). Containing about 30,000 species is a mushroom producing fungi group of the phylum basidiomycota, which are known as the “club fungi” because they form on a base called a basidium (Swann, E., Hibbett, D. 2007). A single basidium usually produces four basidiospores that can be either asexual (anamorph, lost the ability to reproduce sexually) or sexually (teleomorph) reproducing. Penicillium is an example of an anamorph that developed as a result of a mutation on a telemorph. The mold produced by penicillium can be fatal when it is paired with an immune-suppressed patient such as that of an AIDS patient. Malassezia is a form of yeast produced by basidiomycota that is found on skin of animals and humans and may cause disease. These fungi can cause disease in animals and humans, attack wood in buildings and other structures, as well as attack wheat and other crops causing negative consequences to humans (Swann, E., Hibbett, D. 2007). Not all effects of this group are bad however, they produce mushrooms and some of those can be used as food for humans, while others can be harmful or used as a hallucinogenic drug (Swann, E., Hibbett, D. 2007). Basidiomycota play a large role in the carbon cycle along with Zygomycota because they obtain nutrients by decaying dead organic material such as wood and leafs (Swann, E., Hibbett, D. 2007). This phylum is so variable in its reproduction that it is impossible to identify morphological characteristics that are unique and constant to the basidiomycota fungi (Swann, E., Hibbett, D. 2007). In conclusion most of the fungi studied have the ability to reproduce both asexually and sexually making it nearly impossible to ever be able to rid the world of them. They are essential to the survival of humans so not being able to rid them is a wonderful thing and the fungi should be looked at as heroes rather than a nuisance to deal with.

Clark, Curtis. (2010). Zygomycota. Retrieved from
Swann, E., Hibbett, D. (2007). Tree of Life: Basidiomycota, the Club Fungi. Retrieved from
Taylor, J., Spatafora, J., Berbee,M. (2006). Tree of Life: Ascomycota. Retrieved from
Torttora, G. J., Funke, B. R., & Case, C. L. (2013). An Introduction Microbiology (11th ed.). USA: Pearson Education, Inc.
Zygomycota. (n.d). In New Brunswick Museum: Natural History of the Fungi. Retrieved from…...

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