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Lecture 12

BIO SCI 94 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Chitin, Saprotrophic Nutrition, Cyanobacteria

Biological Sciences
Course Code
Robin Bush

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Chapter 32: Fungi
Week 5 || Lecture 12 || 2.8.2017
Fungi- one of the major lineages of large, multicellular eukaryotes that occupy terrestrial
They absorb nutrients from dead organisms
Most fungi live in association with other organisms → called mutualists
Because they recycle key elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus and because
they transfer key nutrients to plants and animals, fungi have a profound influence on ecosystem
productivity and biodiversity
32.1 Why do biologists study fungi?
- Fungi have important economic and ecological impacts
- Some cause illness and infections
- First antibiotic came from fungus called penicillium
- Major destructive impact is through food supply like crops
- Epidemics killed chestnut and elm trees
- Mushrooms on pizza
- Yeast
- Chocolate
- Enzymes to improve food characteristics
- Fungi provide nutrients for land plants
- Fungi that live in close association with plant roots are said to be mycorrhizal
- Plants grow 3-4 times faster with them
- Fungi accelerate the carbon cycle on land
- Fungi that make their living by digesting dead plant material are called
- Fungi break down dead organisms into organic compounds
- Two components of the carbon cycle:
- Carbon fixation by land plants
- CO2 release from all organisms
- If fungi had not evolved the ability to digest lignin and cellulose soon after land
plants evolved the ability to make these compounds, carbon atoms would have
been sequestered in wood for millennia instead of being rapidly recycled into
glucose molecules and CO2.
- Terrestrial environments would be radically different that they are today, and
probably much less productive
32.2 How do biologists study fungi?
- Analyzing morphological traits
- Fungi have simple bodies
- Single-celled called yeasts
- Multicellular called mycelia (most commonly formed)
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