Introduction to Sporulation

Many (not all) fungi are capable of reproducing BOTH SEXUALLY and ASEXUALLY - usually producing spores as a result.

Purpose of sporulation:
  • DISPERSAL - spores ensure that a small portion of the fungus' protoplasm is widely and efficiently dispersed away from the site currently occupied by the organism, e.g. zoospores, sporangiospores, conidia. [QUESTION: Why might this be important? ANSWER]
  • PRESERVATION - certain types of spore preserve the potential for growth at the same site because they provide a means by which the fungus can survive unfavourable environmental conditions, e.g. oospores, zygospores, chlamydospores.
  • GENETIC VARIATION - sexual sporulation provides the potential for genetic variation.
Factors influencing the type of sporulation:
  • GENOTYPE of the SPECIES - each species possesses its own genetic 'programme'.
  • GENOTYPE of the MYCELIUM - one strain may behave differently to another.
  • EXTENT OF SOMATIC GROWTH - a certain amount of growth is often necessary before sporulation can occur.
  • SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS - e.g. temperature, light, specific nutrients.

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