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Kingdom Fungi. General Characteristics. Fungi are heterotrophs obtaining nutrients by absorption. (They CANNOT make their own food like plants can with photosynthesis.) a. Fungi are either: Parasites —obtain nutrients from living organisms

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General Characteristics

Fungi are heterotrophs obtaining nutrients by absorption. (They CANNOT make their own food like plants can with photosynthesis.)

a.Fungi are either:

Parasites—obtain nutrients from living organisms

Decomposers—(or saprophytes) obtain nutrients from dead organisms

b. Obtain nutrition by releasing digestive enzymes on organic matter to break it down, then the fungi absorbs the nutrients.


Fungi are plant-like because they CANNOT move about.

Few fungi are unicellular but MOST are multicellular (many celled organisms).

All fungi are eukaryotic (Eu = True) having a distinct nucleus.

All have cell walls made mostly of the carbohydrate chitin, unlike cell walls of plants which are made mostly of (cellulose). Chitin is found in the exoskeleton of insects.


Bread Mold


Mycelium—absorbs nutrients

(NOT roots)


2. Mushrooms




3. Yeast: unicellular fungi; used in making bread

Ringworm and Athletes Foot: Parasites

5. Lichens: composed of fungi and algae

Example of symbiotic relationship—both benefit. Fungus provides moisture and algae provides food through photosynthesis.



1. Beneficial

a. Food—Mushrooms

b. Yeast—Baking and brewing

c. Cheeses—Bleu Cheese

d. Penicillin—Antibiotic

e. Cyclosporine—Drug used to prevent organ transplant rejection

f. Decomposers—Recycle nutrients by breaking down bodies and waste of other organisms


2. Harmful:

a. Mildew

b. Human diseases—Ringworm and Athletes Foot

c. Plant diseases—Mold, Powdery Mildew, Rusts