Kingdom Fungi. Fungi are a group of eukaryotic organisms, they used to be classified as plants, but genetic studies show that fungi are actually more similar to animals.
Now, one reason that fungi were originally classified with plants is because they have a cell wall, just like plants do. But fungi have cell walls made of chitin, while plant cells walls are made of cellulose.
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One of the differences that set fungi apart from plants is that their cell walls were composed of something completely different.
Fungi can reproduce asexually via vegetated spores or they can reproduce sexually via meiosis. A fruit body such as mushroom or mold is formed where spores are created and released to begin new colonies. When you think about a plant and how it produces a fruit and that’s where the seeds are that carries on life and it’s kind of the same thing, except fungi in plants are not the same kingdom.
A fungi’s fruit body is going to be in the form of a mushroom or mold and instead of having seeds, it’s going to produce spores that are released and the spores go out and they create new colonies of fungi. Fungi include yeast, mold, rusts and familiar mushrooms. Something to remember is that slime molds and water mold, even though they are mold are not grouped with true fungi. They used to be, but they are no longer considered true fungi, because they just don’t fit into this kingdom. Even if you see the word mold, that doesn’t mean that it’s definitely something that fits into kingdom fungi.
Fungi grow in soil on dead matter and are symbionts of plants, animals, or other fungi and being a symbiont means that a fungus can live on a plant, on an animal or on some other fungus. It can live on it, it could be a neutral relationship, where that fungus lives there and it doesn’t affect the plant animal or fungus that it’s living on. It could be something positive, where they’re both getting something out of it or it could be something negative, where the fungus growing on that plant, animal or other fungus is causing a problem. For instance, on certain rice plants, if the fungus grows on it, it can cause a disease that causes all those crops to go bad and not be good for consumption anymore.
It can be a bad relationship or it can just be something neutral, or it can be something that’s helpful for both the plant, animal or fungus and the fungus that is growing on one of those things. A fungus doesn’t always have to be a symbiotic, it could just grow in soil or in dead matter or by itself. Fungi uses can include an essential role in decomposition. A fungi grow on dead matter, they’re going to help decompose that dead matter. It could be a direct source of food. Familiar mushrooms would be direct sources of food that you could eat, though not every mushroom, because the fungi can be toxic, so don’t think that every mushroom you see is alright or every fungus is going to be helpful.
Fungi can be used as a leavening agent for bread, that’s a yeast, fermentation such as in wine, beer and soy sauce and that would be yeast again. Antibiotics, enzymes and detergents, biological pesticides, that could kill certain weeds and then remember fungi has a lot of uses, but it can be toxic. Kingdom fungi is going to consist of eukaryotic organisms and they’re going to have cell walls made of chitin. They can reproduce sexually or asexually and they’re going to include, yeast, rust and familiar mushrooms.
Next Lesson: Kingdom Plantae