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Registered: 10/27/98
Posts: 5,398
Loc: The Matrix
A simple explaination of Fungi....
    #540926 - 02/05/02 02:14 AM (21 years, 9 months ago)

Cellular Structure and Reproduction of Fungi

All fungi are classified under the domain Eukarya, Fungi is the name of the kingdom under this domain. The significance of Fungi belonging to the Eukarya domain is that their cell structure is similar to other eukaryotes. A eukaryotic cell has a membrane enclosed nucleus as well as membrane enclosed organelles. Other kingdoms that are included in the domain Eukarya are Protista, Plantae, and Animalia.
The structure of fungi can usually be split into two separate macroscopic types, the mycelial mass, an the fruiting body. The mycelial mass is made up of thousands of microscopic tube-like threads called hyphae. These hyphae are made up of cells separated by septa. The septa are walls between cells. These septa are porous enough to allow ribosomes, mitochondria, cell nuclei, and nutrients to pass between cells. Some fungi do not have septa but are single masses of cytoplasm with many nuclei. The fruiting body is usually visible as the mushroom, the purpose of the mushroom is spore dispersal. The mushroom can range drastically in size from a centimeter to a full meter. The cell walls of fungi differ from plants and animals in their structure. The cell walls of fungi contain a polysaccharide called chitin. Parasitic fungi may have specialized structures called haustoria. Haustoria are modified hyphae which penetrate the host cell and allow for nutrient absorption. Most fungi also have structures called rhizomes. Mycorrhizal fungi have special types of rhizomes called mycorrhizae. Mycorrhizae are enlarged hyphae used in the aid of nutrient exchange with the roots of the host.
There are three major types of fungal reproduction. Fungi are split into three divisions/phylum according to their reproductive type. These divisions are Zygomycota, Ascomycota, and Basidiomycota. Each division is named after the sexual cells in which karyogamy occurs. Karyogamy is the stage in sexual reproduction in which the nuclei fuse to form a diploid cell. In zygomycota the mycelia of opposite mating types make contact to form gametangia. The gametangia are reproductive cells in which gametes are formed. The gametangia then go through plasmogamy to form dikaryotic zygosporangium. Plasmogamy is the fusing of cytoplasm between the gametangia. Once plasmogamy occurs the zygosporangia form a thick tough wall, this enables the cell to resist desiccation, and other environmental threats. When conditions are right the zygosporangium undergo karyogamy to form diploid zygosporangium. Once the diploid zygosporangium break their dormancy they form a sporangium to which all of the spores are attached. These spores are then dispersed, when they land on suitable substrate they germinate to form new mycelia. Zygomycota can also reproduce asexually. The mycelium can form sporangia directly without going through the process of sexual reproduction. Of course sexual reproduction is favored as to increase genetic diversity. Ascomycotal mycelium from different mating types make contact to form two structures. One of the mating types forms antheridium while the other forms ascogonium. The antheridium form many nuclei which are accepted by the ascogonium. The ascogonium then forms many dikaryotic hyphae. The dikaryotic hyphae then form asci which are sac-lick structures. It is inside these asci that karyogamy occurs to form diploid ascospores. The asci then burst to disperse the ascospores, when these ascospores land on the appropriate substrate under the appropriate conditions the ascospores then germinate to form new mycelium. Ascomycetes can also undergo asexual reproduction. The mycelium of a single mating type can form structures called conidiophores that carry conida which are asexually produced spores, these spores can form new mycelium.
Basidiocarpal mycelium strands of different mating types join and undergo plasmogamy to form dikaryotic mycelium. This dikaryotic mycelium grows throughout the substrate until the environment cues it, at the proper time the dikaryotic mycelium forms a mass that then grows into the mushroom. Inside the gills of the mushroom are the terminal ends of the dikaryotic mycelial cells, it is at these cells that karyogamy occurs to form the diploid basidium. The diploid basidium them undergo meiosis to form four haploid nuclei. Each basidium also produces an appendage through which the haploid nucleus travels to form the basidiospore. These basidiospores then break free and are held between the gills by an electric static force. When the conditions are right the haploid basidiospore is released and carried away by air currents to germinate into new mycelium on another substrate. Molds and yeasts are other types of fungi that have evolved specialized forms of living and reproduction, however I chose to leave those out at this time.
I find fungi to be one of the most intriguing life-forms on the Earth. They play a most essential role in our environment on many levels that are as of yet only hypothesized. Some of our most beneficial medicines come from chemicals produced by the Fungi Kingdom. I can only imagine the possibilities that await us as our knowledge and awareness of fungi increases.


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Re: A simple explaination of Fungi.... [Re: Joshua]
    #541326 - 02/05/02 12:28 PM (21 years, 9 months ago)


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Registered: 07/21/99
Posts: 13,774
Loc: gone with my shrooms
Re: A simple explaination of Fungi.... [Re: Joshua]
    #541452 - 02/05/02 02:34 PM (21 years, 9 months ago)

cool and well said.

By the way, My Cultivation CD-ROM is now available.


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World-BridgerKartikeya (DftS)
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Re: A simple explaination of Fungi.... [Re: Joshua]
    #542472 - 02/06/02 12:20 PM (21 years, 9 months ago)

Had this PDF hanging around for some time :P


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