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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Classify fungi into the five major phyla
  • Describe each phylum in terms of major representative species and patterns of reproduction

The kingdom Fungi contains five major phyla that were established according to their mode of sexual reproduction or using molecular data. The five true phyla of fungi are the Chytridiomycota (Chytrids), the Zygomycota (conjugated fungi), the Ascomycota (sac fungi), the Basidiomycota (club fungi) and the recently described Phylum Glomeromycota.

Note: “-mycota” is used to designate a phylum while “-mycetes” formally denotes a class or is used informally to refer to all members of the phylum.

Chytridiomycota: the chytrids

The only class in the Phylum Chytridiomycota is the Chytridiomycetes . The chytrids are the simplest and most primitive fungi. The evolutionary record shows that the first recognizable chytrids appeared during the late pre-Cambrian period, more than 500 million years ago. Like all fungi, chytrids have chitin in their cell walls; a few form multicellular organisms and hyphae, but most are single celled. They produce gametes and diploid zoospores that swim with the help of a single flagellum.

The ecological habitat and cell structure of chytrids have much in common with protists. Chytrids usually live in aquatic environments, although some species live on land. Some species thrive as parasites on plants, insects, or amphibians ( [link] ), while others are saprobes. The chytrid species Allomyces is well characterized as an experimental organism. Its reproductive cycle includes both asexual and sexual phases. Allomyces produces diploid or haploid flagellated zoospores in a sporangium.

 Micrograph A shows an arthropod, which is a teardrop-shaped transparent organism about 90 microns across and 120 microns long. Tentacle-like appendages jut out from the front, wide end of the organism, and clusters of cilia-like appendages just out from either side and the back. Transparent oval organisms about 20 microns across cling to the arthropod. Micrograph B shows a similar oval transparent organisms clinging to rod-shaped algae about 5 microns across and 200 microns long.
The chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis is seen in these light micrographs as transparent spheres growing on (a) a freshwater arthropod and (b) algae. This chytrid causes skin diseases in many species of amphibians, resulting in species decline and extinction. (credit: modification of work by Johnson ML, Speare R., CDC)

Zygomycota: the zygote fungi

The zygomycetes are a relatively small group of fungi belonging to the Phylum Zygomycota    . They include the familiar bread mold, Rhizopus stolonifer , which rapidly propagates on the surfaces of breads, fruits, and vegetables. Most species are saprobes, living off decaying organic material; a few are parasites, particularly of insects. Zygomycetes play a considerable commercial role. The metabolic products of other species of Rhizopus are intermediates in the synthesis of semi-synthetic steroid hormones.

Zygomycetes usually reproduce asexually by producing sporangiospores ( [link] ). The black tips of bread mold are the swollen sporangia packed with black spores ( [link] ). When spores land on a suitable substrate, they germinate and produce a new mycelium. Sexual reproduction starts when conditions become unfavorable.

The asexual and sexual life cycles of zygomycetes are shown. In the asexual life cycle, 1n spores undergo mitosis to form long chains of cells called mycelia. Germination results in the formation of more spores. In the sexual life cycle, spores germinate to form mycelia with two different mating types: plus and minus. If the plus and minus mating types are in close proximity, extensions called gametangia form between them. In a process called plasmogamy, the gametangia fuse to form a zygosporangium with multiple haploid nuclei. A thick, protective coat forms around the zygosporangium. In a process called karyogamy, the nuclei fuse to form a zygote with multiple diploid (2n) nuclei. The zygote undergoes meiosis and germination. A sporangium grows on a short stalk. Haploid spores are formed inside. The spores germinate, ending the cycle.
Zygomycetes have asexual and asexual life cycles. In the sexual life cycle, plus and minus mating types conjugate to form a zygosporangium.
 The photo shows a thick layer of green mold growing on bread. Fuzzy white projections grow from the mold.
Sporangia grow at the end of stalks, which appear as (a) white fuzz seen on this bread mold, Rhizopus stolonifer . The (b) tips of bread mold are the spore-containing sporangia. (credit b: modification of work by "polandeze"/Flickr)

Questions & Answers

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Eke Reply
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
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scanning tunneling microscope
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Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
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perianth is present in which gymnosperms ?
DebaXish Reply
perianth is present in which gymnos4perms ?
DebaXish Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Bi 101 for lbcc ilearn campus. OpenStax CNX. Nov 28, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11593/1.1
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