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Introduction to the Fungi. Goals for today. What are fungi? How do fungi interact with other organisms? Why should you care about fungi? Think for a minute, then discuss with your neighbor and write down whatever you can agree on (no names on paper). Small Group Discussion Question

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goals for today

Goals for today

What are fungi?

How do fungi interact with other organisms?

Why should you care about fungi?

Think for a minute, then discuss with your neighbor and write down whatever you can agree on (no names on paper)

slide3
Small Group Discussion Question
  • Which of the following is most closely related to a mushroom (fungus)?

Why do you think so?

what do fungi eat
What do fungi “eat?”
  • Decomposers break down complex molecules into sugars or consume sugars found in environment
  • Examples:
  • common bread mold (eats carbs in bread)
  • shelf fungi on logs (eats carbs in cell wall of wood)
  • white button mushrooms in store (eats sugars and cellulose in dung)
what do fungi eat6
What do fungi “eat?”
  • Symbiotic fungi receive their energy (carbohydrates) directly from a plant or algal partner

Examples:

  • mycorrhizal fungi (live on plant roots)
  • lichens (contain algae)
what else do fungi eat
What else do fungi “eat?”
  • Predatory fungi, catch and digest other organisms (like nematodes)

But still absorptive nutrition! Just have to catch it first…

summary what do fungi eat
Summary: What do fungi eat?
  • Heterotrophs (cannot make their own food like plants)
  • Extracellular, absorptive nutrition secrete enzymes outside of their bodies, “digest” the food outside of their cells and then absorb the molecules into their cells.
  • Live in their substrate (food)

How is this similar to us? What consequences/ advantages does it have?

small group discussion question
Small Group Discussion Question

The white mushrooms comprise how many fungal individuals?

  • one
  • 42
  • 420
what is the same in these two photos
What is the same in these two photos?

What does a fungus body look like?

mushrooms are for sexual reproduction flowers mycelium body of the fungus
Mushrooms are for sexual reproduction (~flowers)Mycelium = body of the fungus

Hyphae = the “bricks” from which the mushroom is built

recap definition of fungus
Recap: Definition of fungus
  • Single or multi-celled eukaryote with heterotrophic,absorptive nutrition, chitinous cell walls, and which stores energy as glycogen
  • Live in food source or go dormant in low humidity
small group discussion question16
Small Group Discussion Question

How big are fungi?

  • Microscopic (too small to see)
  • Small (can hold in your hand)
  • About as big as people
  • Larger than a house
example of a humungous fungus
Example of a “humungous fungus”
  • Armillaria bulbosa – a mushroom producing wood decomposer
  • Covers at least 38 acres in a forest in Michigan
  • Estimated to weigh 100 tons (size of a blue whale)
  • Estimated to be at least 1500 yrs old
why should you care about fungi
Why should you care about fungi?

A few reasons:

  • They make foods we like to eat
  • Mycorrhizae are responsible for plant life on land and high productivity rates
  • They decompose wood and organic matter
  • Penicillin and other medicines
  • They’re just really cool!
examples of foods made possible by fungi
Examples of foods made possible by fungi

Yeast

  • Beer and Wine
  • Bread

Mushrooms

  • White button, crimini,portabella
  • Truffles, chanterelles

Mycoprotein

(food additive like tofu)

  • Cheese
  • Rennin,
  • blue cheese
  • Soy sauce
  • Tempeh
  • Citric acid
  • (soft drinks)
why should you care about fungi20
Why should you care about fungi?

A few reasons:

  • They make foods we like to eat
  • Mycorrhizae (plant:fungal symbioses that forms on plant roots) are responsible for plant life on land and high productivity rates
  • They decompose wood and organic matter
  • Penicillin and other medicines
  • They’re just really cool!
mycorrhizae
Mycorrhizae
  • “myco” = fungus and “rhiza” = root
  • Symbiotic association between plant roots and fungi
  • Several different types of association (defined by structure of fungus:plant interface)
do pine seedlings grow better with a mycorrhizal fungal partner
Do pine seedlings grow better with a mycorrhizal (fungal) partner?

seedling weight (g)

% survival

seedling height (cm)

advantages to fungi
Advantages to fungi
  • Plants are a dependable and abundant source of carbohydrates
advantages to plant
Advantages to plant
  • Fungi are better than plants at acquiring mineral nutrition (P,K, N) from the soil.
  • Fungi improve a plant’s access towater

Because fungi

    • can access greater soil volume
    • can break molecules down into useable forms
fungi can access more of the soil because
Fungi can access more of the soil because
  • Hyphae are smaller than plant roots

Root Hair

Hyphae are

1/500th the diameter of a plant root hair

hyphae

fungi are better at acquiring nutrients because
Fungi are better at acquiring nutrients because

2. Fungi have digestive enzymes that plants do not (remember absorptive nutrition)

  • Can turn inorganic phosphorus and nitrogen into forms usable by plants

Because fungi secrete their enzymes outside of their cells (into the soil) they can use “dangerous” enzymes which produce too many free radicals to use inside cells

recap of mycorrhizal benefits
Recap of mycorrhizal benefits

Fungi increase the water and nutrients available to their plant partners leading to:

  • Greater plant productivity

(larger profits in the timber, fiber industries)

  • Greater reproductive success for plants(higher yields for agriculture)
  • Greater ecosystem stability

Left: No mycorrhizal fungi

Right: With mycorrhizal fungi

slide29

What would happen if a mycorrhizal fungus grew from one plant to another forming mycorrhizae with both?Hyphae are long “tubes” fungi are good at acquiring and moving compounds around.

implication of fungal networks
Implication of fungal networks
  • If mycorrhizae can move significant amounts of carbon (sugar) between different plant species, this could reduce competition and contribute to the stability and diversity of ecosystems.
inadvertent parenting in fungi
Inadvertent “Parenting” in fungi
  • Mycorrhizal connections also may move carbon from dominant trees to shaded seedlings (based on the same source sink relationship)
why should you care about fungi36
Why should you care about fungi?

A few reasons:

  • They make foods we like to eat
  • Mycorrhizae are responsible for plant life on land and high productivity rates
  • They decompose wood and organic matter
  • Penicillin and other medicines
  • They’re just really cool!
fungi are important decomposers
Fungi are important decomposers!

Fungi are the only organisms that can completely decompose lignin (what makes wood hard)

Lignin must be broken down before any other decomposition can occur (no fungi = no decomposition by anyone).

Fungi also decompose cellulose to glucose and play a major role in the global carbon cycle.

why should you care about fungi39
Why should you care about fungi?

A few reasons:

  • They make foods we like to eat
  • Mycorrhizae are responsible for plant life on land and high productivity rates
  • They decompose wood and organic matter
  • Penicillin and other medicines
  • They’re just really cool!
penicillium
Penicillium

WWI, bacterial infections killed more soldiers than bullets.

1928 Dr. Andrew Fleming working at St. Mary’s Hospital in London noticed that mold growing on staph bacterial culture plates had killed the pathogen

zone of dead bacteria

why do fungi make antibiotics
Why do fungi make antibiotics?

Fungi produce antibiotics for the same reason we need them:

to fight off bacterial infections

why should you care about fungi43
Why should you care about fungi?

A few reasons:

  • They make foods we like to eat
  • Mycorrhizae are responsible for plant life on land and high productivity rates
  • They decompose wood and organic matter
  • Penicillin and other antibiotics
  • They’re just really cool!
please feel free to contact me with questions or just to talk about fungi timmerman@biol sc edu
Please feel free to contact me with questions or just to talk about fungi: timmerman@biol.sc.edu
  • This power point will be posted on Blackboard for your studying convenience.
  • Please write down on your scrap paper your “new” opinion of fungi
  • Please turn in scrap paper answers as you exit.