Chapter 20, End of Chapter, Review Questions, Exercise 5
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Fungi are eukaryotic organisms capable of dividing without having a sexual partner.
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.