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Microbiology: An Evolving Science 4th Edition

Microbiology: An Evolving Science (4th Edition)

Book Edition4th Edition
PublisherW. W. Norton
End of Chapter
Review Questions

Chapter 20, End of Chapter, Review Questions, Exercise 5

Page 812

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Fungi are eukaryotic organisms capable of dividing without having a sexual partner. 

Verified Answer

Fungi are eukaryotic microbes which can have the following characteristics:

  • Fungi can be multicellular such as filamentous fungi  such as Aspergillus niger or unicellular such as yeast. It has a cell wall made up of chitin, an acetylated amino polysaccharide. Most fungi cannot move, but chytridiomycota zoospores are an exception.
  • Fungi have heterotrophic mode of nutrition. They absorb nutrients from dead and decaying matter. These are grown in soil. 
  • Filamentous fungi can grow in chains called hyphae. It divides mitotically without cell division and can penetrate many materials. 
  • Ascomycete fungi can form asci (spore-bearing cells) by undergoing meiosis at the tip of the diploid mycelium. Some fungi pack their asci into fruiting bodies. 
  • Single-celled fungi are known as yeasts. They can grow rapidly and can disperse in aqueous environments. These are used to make fermented drinks and bread.


Similarities between fungi and protists

  • Like fungi, protists are eukaryotic organisms, having well-defined cellular organelles. 
  • Both fungi and protists exhibit a heterotrophic mode of nutrition. In this, organisms depend, directly or indirectly, on the other organism for food and survival. 
  • Sexual reproduction occurs by the formation of gametes. 
  • Both of these microorganisms can act as human parasites.


Differences between fungi and protists

  • Protists are motile organisms, but fungi are non-motile organisms having an exception, chytridiomycete zoospores. 
  • Protists such as green-algae can carry out photosynthesis, but fungi lack chloroplast and thus do not perform photosynthesis.
  • Protists are autotrophs (synthesize their own food); fungi are heterotrophs and feed on dead and decaying organic matter (saprophyte).
  • Asexual reproduction in protists occurs by budding whereas in case of fungi it occurs by spores, fragmentation or budding.
  • Protists are single-celled organisms, including algae and protozoa, whereas fungi can be unicellular or multicellular organisms.
  • Protists are aseptate, while fungi may or may not have  septa separating fungal hyphae into compartments.
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