What Is Fungus?


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A fungus is a kind of organism which appears like a plant but lacks in the pigment chlorophyll as a result of which it cannot prepare its own food (photosynthesis). It instead absorbs nutrients from the places where it grows like on dead wood, trees and moist soil and plays an important role in the recycling of various nutrients from dead organic matter.

It is included in the class Fungi the study of which is known as Mycology. The well known types of fungi include mushrooms, yeast and molds; a number of types of fungi are known to cause various infectious diseases and allergic reactions in plants and animals. Fungi have also been known to display contrasting behavior at times as in some cases they act as parasites while at times they exist in a symbiotic relationship with the host on which they may be growing.

Fungi are used by humans in various ways like for example mushrooms are extensively used as food and yeasts are used in bakery products and certain alcoholic beverages to induce fermentation.
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The organisms in the Kingdom Fungi lives as saprophytes feeding on decaying organic matter or as parasites of plants and animals. They may be unicellular, e.g. Yeasts, or multicellular, e.g. Bread mould (Rhizopus), mushrooms and Penicillium which produces penicillin antibiotic.

The body of a multicellular fungus like the bread mould consists of a mesh of finely branching threads collectively known as the mycelium. These thread-like structures are known as hyphae. The hyphae are not divided into cells. They are protected by cell walls composed of chitin, a complex carbohydrate. Each hypha has a cell membrane, cytoplasm with many nuclei and a large central vacuole. The carbohydrates stored in fungi is glycogen.

Fungi reproduces by budding or means of spores.

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