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Fungi – Introduction to Microbiology

by Vincent Racaniello, PhD
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    00:01 The next group of microbes that I'd like to discuss with you are the eukaryotes.

    00:07 The eukaryotes of course are cells with nuclei and we're made of eukaryotes, as you are as well and there are several different kinds of eukaryotes that I'd like to discuss, they are all microbes, and the first is the fungi. Many of you are probably familiar with fungi as the mold that grows on your bread or perhaps on your fruit and they are really two kinds of fungi, the first type is what we call filamentous fungus and that's shown here. These are organisms made up of long strands called mycelia and these strands are made up of smaller parts called hyphae. And again this is the fungus that you might find on your moldy bread or your moldy fruit. The other kind of fungus that we know of, exists as single cells and these are the yeasts and on the left you can see a diagram of the single cell yeast and on the right is a photograph of them. A very famous yeast is called saccharomyces cerevisiae or baker’s yeast. So again these are unicellular fungi, as opposed to the filamentous fungi that we just talked about. Mushrooms are also fungi. Now these are not microbes of course, because you can see them with the naked eye, but mushrooms are really just made up of a lot of mycelia, a lot of those filamentous fungal particles put together to form a mushroom.

    01:41 And these mushrooms actually have a way of growing that's quite unusual, the mycelium grows under the ground and the mushroom sprouts from above the ground. Now fungi are what we call heterotrophs, they have to acquire their nutrition from outside sources, they can't make any of their nutrients. And so fungi often grow in nature, in soil or on rotting plants and the mycelium grows and absorbs nutrients, and the mycelium grows bigger and bigger and on the surface the only thing that you can see are the mushrooms sprouting up, these are actually the reproductive forms of the fungus. Now the fungal cell wall is quite different from the cell wall that's in plants or bacteria or even in us. There is a cell membrane as you can see here, which is a typical lipid bilayer, but above the cell membrane is a layer of chitin. Chitin, which is shown on the left of the slide, is a polymer of sugars, in particular N-acetylglucosamine.

    02:44 Above the chitin is a layer of sugars called beta glucans and on the very top of the cell wall is another glycoprotein which consists of mostly mannose linked to protein. So these are very different cell walls from the other organisms on earth.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Fungi – Introduction to Microbiology by Vincent Racaniello, PhD is from the course Microbiology: Introduction.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Alginic acid
    2. Mannose-based glycoprotein
    3. Beta glucans
    4. Lipid bilayer
    5. Chitin
    1. Archaea
    2. FIlamentous
    3. Yeast
    4. Hyphae
    5. Mycelia

    Author of lecture Fungi – Introduction to Microbiology

     Vincent Racaniello, PhD

    Vincent Racaniello, PhD


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