General Characteristics of True Fungi (Mycota or Eumycota)
- 1. All are eukaryotic
- Possess membrane-bound nuclei (containing chromosomes)
and a range of membrane-bound cytoplasmic organelles (e.g. mitochondria,
vacuoles, endoplasmic reticulum).
- 2. Most are filamentous
- Composed of individual microscopic filaments called hyphae, which
exhibit apical growth and which branch to form a network of hyphae
called a mycelium.
- 3. Some are unicellular
- e.g. yeasts.
- 4. Protoplasm of a hypha or cell is surrounded by a rigid wall
- Composed primarily of chitin and glucans, although the walls of
some species contain cellulose.
- 5. Many reproduce both sexually and asexually
- Both sexual and asexual reproduction
often result in the production of spores.
- 6. Their nuclei are typically haploid and hyphal compartments are often
- Although the Oomycota and some yeasts possess diploid nuclei.
- 7. All are achlorophyllous
- They lack chlorophyll pigments and are incapable of photosynthesis.
- 8. All are chemoheterotrophic (chemo-organotrophic)
- They utilise pre-existing organic sources of carbon in their environment
and the energy from chemical reactions to sythesise the organic
compounds they require for growth and energy.
- 9. Possess characteristic range of storage compounds
- e.g. trehalose, glycogen,
sugar alcohols and lipids.
- 10. May be free-living or may form intimate relationships with other organisms
- i.e. may be free-living, parasitic or mutualistic (symbiotic).