Introduction to the FUNGI kingdom Do you think he’s a FunGI? Fungi are like the zombies of the forest! Why are fungi important to us? Fungi are major decomposers on earth. They are responsible for breaking down organic matter and releasing carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus into the soil and the atmosphere. Fungi are essential to many household and industrial processes, notably the making of bread, wine, beer, and certain cheeses How are fungi like plants? How are they not like plants? Fungi are autotrophs, so they cannot make their own foods like how plants do. Both fungi and plants are eukaryotes. They do not show any movement or locomotion. Also, both plants and fungi have membrane-bound nuclei. ...Did you know?? Fungi are actually more closely related to ANIMALS than they are to plants??!! Complete the chart about the different parts. Name of the Part Role and Function (and diagram if available) Mycelium Soil fungi are microscopic plant-like cells that grow in long threadlike structures or hyphae that make a mass called mycelium. The mycelium absorbs nutrients from the roots it has colonised, surface organic matter or the soil. It produces special hyphae that create the reproductive spores. Hyphae Hyphae perform a variety of functions in fungi. They contain the cytoplasm or cell sap, including the nuclei containing genetic material. Hyphae absorb nutrients from the environment and transport them to other parts of the thallus (fungus body). Chitin Chitin and chitosan are two related polysaccharides that provide important structural stability to fungal cell walls. Often embedded deeply within the cell wall structure, these molecules anchor other components at the cell surface. Give an example of a single-celled fungus: Yeast An Introduction to Fungal Reproduction BRIEFLY explain how fungi use spore formation: Spores are asexual reproductive cells that are produced by fungi and some other organisms. They are highly resistant to environmental conditions and can survive for long periods of time in a dormant state. When the environmental conditions are favorable, the spores can germinate and grow into new individuals. This ability to survive unfavorable conditions makes them a useful tool for dispersal and colonization of new habitats. Spore formation allows fungi to spread quickly and efficiently, allowing them to colonize new areas and increase their population size. What is budding? What type of fungi uses it? Budding is a type of asexual reproduction in which a new organism develops from an outgrowth or bud due to cell division at one particular site. Yeast and Hydra are two types of fungi that use budding for reproduction. Symbiotic relationships of fungi in ecosystems: (Give a brief explanation of each one) 1. Lichens: Lichens are a type of symbiotic organism composed of a fungus and an alga living together in a mutually beneficial relationship. The fungus provides the alga with protection and structure, while the alga provides the fungus with food in the form of photosynthetic products. Lichens are found in a variety of habitats and can be used as indicators of air quality. 2. Leaf-cutter ants: Leaf-cutter ants are a species of ant found in tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. They are known for their ability to cut and carry pieces of leaves to their underground nests, where they use the leaves to cultivate a fungus which they feed on. Leaf-cutter ants are highly social and live in large colonies with complex division of labor. 3. Mycorrhiza: Mycorrhiza is a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and the roots of a plant. The fungus provides the plant with nutrients and water, while the plant provides the fungus with carbohydrates. This relationship is beneficial to both the fungus and the plant, as it helps the plant to absorb more nutrients and water, and helps the fungus to obtain more carbohydrates. What are some problems that fungi can cause?? Fungi can cause a variety of problems in humans, animals, and plants. In humans, they can cause skin infections, respiratory infections, and systemic infections. In animals, they can cause skin infections, respiratory infections, and digestive problems. In plants, they can cause root rot, leaf spot, and other diseases.