AP B IOLOGY U NIT 10 (C H . 31) Fungi Notes (Ch. 31)/Knight/2002 1 K INGDOM : F UNGI (31) By breaking down dead organic material, fungi continue the cycle of nutrients through ecosystems. In addition, most vascular plants could not grow without the symbiotic fungi, or mycorrhizae , that inhabit their roots and supply essential nutrients. Other fungi provide numerous drugs (such as penicillin and other antibiotics), foods like mushrooms, truffles and morels, and the bubbles in bread, champagne, and beer. Fungi also cause a number of plant and animal diseases such as ringworm and athlete’s foot in humans and the rusts and smuts of plants. As unicellular eukaryotes they are also important for our understanding of cell processes. General Characteristics of Fungi Absorptive Heterotroph (chemotroph) Grow through and in source of organic material. Use hydrolytic enzymes to decompose substrate. Saprophytic
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