Fungi Structure Diagram and Taxonomic Position of Fungi

The Kingdom of Recyclers

Approximately, there are 100,000 known species of fungi that are different in fungi structure, shapes, characteristics, and their resemblance or difference from plants and animals. Fungi include many different types of organisms.fungi

  1. Some fungi are pathogens like rust, the smut of wheat, and corn. Molds grow on important crops and foodstuffs.
  2. There are some delicious fungi like truffles and morels.
  3. There are commercial uses of some fungi like Penicillium is a source of antibiotics penicillin. Yeasts are used in bakeries and breweries.
  4. Fungi act as decomposers like bacteria.

Taxonomic Position of Fungi

Fungi were placed earlier in the plant kingdom. Later, they were separated from the plant kingdom and were given the status of a separate kingdom Fungi.

Resemblances with plantsResemblances with plants

Fungi show the following resemblances with the plants:

  1. Both have a cell wall.
  2. Both lack centrioles.
  3. Both are non-motile.

Difference from plants

  1. Fungi are heterotrophic, whereas plants are autotrophic.
  2. The cell wall of fungi is composed of chitin, while the cell wall of plants is composed of cellulose.

Resemblances with animals

Fungi resemble more animals than plants. They show the following resemblances with the animals.

  1. Fungi are heterotrophs like animals, while plants are autotrophs.Resemblances with animals
  2. The cell wall of fungi is composed of chitin. Chitin is also present in the external skeleton of arthropods. While the cell wall of plants is composed of cellulose.

Due to these similarities, some mycologists (scientists who study fungi) think that fungi and animals have a common ancestor.

Differences from the Animals

Fungi have the following differences from animals:

  1. Fungi have a cell wall but are absent in animals
  2. Fungi are absorptive heterotrophs (they absorb food while animals ingest .ood).
  3. Fungi are non-motile.

Some Special Characters of Fungi Structure

Fungi are neither plants nor animals, as they show some special characters:

  1. The DNA studies of fungi have confirmed that fungi are different from all other organisms.
  2. Fungi show a characteristic type of mitosis, called nuclear mitosis. In this case, the nuclear envelope (nuclear membrane) does not break during mitosis; the mitotic spindle is formed within the nucleus. The nuclear membrane constricts between the two clusters of daughter chromosomes and divides the nucleus. In some fungi, the nuclear envelope disappears late.

The Body of Fungus


The body of a fungus is called mycelium. It is composed of hyphae. Yeast is non-hyphal unicellular fungi.

Hyphae in Fungi Structure

The long, slender, branched tubular thread-like filament is called hyphae (singular hypha). Hyphae spread over the surface of the substratum. Their cell wall contains chitin. Chitin is resistant to decay. There are two types of hyphae:

  1. Septate hyphae: Septate hyphae are divided by cross walls, called septa (singular septum) into individual cells. Each hypha contains one or more nuclei. The septa of many septate fungi have pores. The cytoplasm can flow through these pores. It carries material to the growing tips of the hypha. So the hyphae grow rapidly when food and water are abundant and the temperature is favorable.
  2. Non-Septate hyphae: They lack septa and hyphae are not divided into individual cells. They form an elongated multinucleated large cell. Such multinucleate hyphae are called coenocytic hyphae. Its cytoplasm moves effectively and distributes the material throughout the hyphae.Hyphae

Growth of Hyphae

The hyphae grow rapidly when food and water are abundant and the temperature is favorable. The parts of fungus growing through the substrate are metabolically active. These hyphae form an extensive spreading system of hyphae. It increases the surface area for absorption.

Reproductive Fungi Structure

Hyphae may pack together and organize to form complex reproductive structures like mushrooms, puffballs, morels, etc. These structures expand rapidly. All nuclei of fungi are haploid except diploid zygote. This zygote is formed during sexual reproduction Fungi Structure.

The World’s Largest Organism

A single mycelium may produce up to a kilometer of new hyphae in only one day. Fungi Armillaria may be called the world’s largest organism. It is a pathogenic fungus. It afflicts conifers. It grows out of central focus. It spreads up to 15 hectares (hectare = 10000 m2).

Characters of Fungi and Structure

  1. Fungi are special living organisms, that have a simple body, called “mycelium”.
  2. Fungi do not contain chlorophyll so they are not able to manufacture their own food material. They are either parasites or saprophytes.
  3. Their cell wall is made up of Chitin & Fungal cellulose.
  4. They either cause diseases in plants & animals or destroy foodstuff.
  5. Some fungi are useful & may be used as food, such as in lush rooms. The mushrooms are of different types and some mushrooms are poisonous.
  6. In Fungi reproduction takes place by the asexual or sexual method.
  7. From fungi, Penicillin and other antibiotics are obtained.

Fungi StructureFungi Structure

  1. The body of fungi is very simple known as mycelium. It consists of many thread-like or fiber-like structures known as Hyphae.
  2. Inside the mycelium cytoplasm, nuclei and oil globules are present globules store food material.
  3. Mycelium is of three types:
    1. Septate mycelium (Hyphae) septa — cross wall. These are divided by cross walls so the mycelium is internally divided into many cells. Each cell contains one nucleus (Primary) and two nuclei (Secondary) hyphae.
    2. Aseptate mycelium (Hyphae) A = not, septa = cross wall. In this type, hyphae septa are not present so the hyphae are not divided into individual cells. It is also known as coenocytic hyphae (a multinucleate condition with common cytoplasm).
    3. Septate with perforation in many septate fungi has a pore through which cytoplasm flows from cell to cell.


The above discussion shows that fungi are distinct organisms from plants, animals, and protists. So they are given the status of a separate kingdom called the kingdom “Fungi”.

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