Fungi are eukaryotic organisms that can be multicellular or unicellular. Mushrooms and moulds are examples of multicellular fungi and yeast is an example of a unicellular fungi. All fungi have a cell wall made of chitin. They are non-motile (not capable of movement) and consist of threads called hyphae. Fungi are heterotrophic organisms which means they require organic compounds of carbon and nitrogen for nourishment. They are important as decomposers (saprophytes) and can be parasitic. They store carbon as glycogen, not in the form of starch. Fungi reproduce sexually and asexually by spore formation. An important example of a useful fungus is Penicillium (a fungus which was used to make penicillin, one of the most powerful antibiotics ever created).
|Examples of fungi.||Mushrooms are examples of fungi.|
Optional Video: 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World
See the TED video on the many uses of Fungi by Paul Stamets below.
Did You Know?
Sir Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotics in 1928, after observing that colonies of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria could be destroyed by the fungi Penicillium notatum. This observation that certain substances were deadly to microbial life lead to the discovery and development of medicines that could kill many types of disease-causing bacteria in the body.