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A fungus is a eukaryotic organism that is part of a kingdom separate from plants and animals. The plural form of fungus is fungi. Examples of fungi are yeasts, mushrooms, and molds.
See the fact file below for more information on the fungi or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Fungi worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The English word fungus is derived from the Latin word fungus which means mushroom.
- The Latin word was adopted from the Greek word sphongos, that translates as sponge, because of the intricate structures of mushrooms.
- Other languages that fungus could have stemmed from is the German Schwamm for sponge and Schimmel for mold.
- The study of fungi is called mycology, from the Greek words ‘mykes’ meaning mushroom and ‘logos’ meaning discourse.
- A mycologist is a scientist that studies fungi.
- A group of fungi in one region is called mycobiota.
ANIMAL OR PLANT?
- Genetically, fungi is more closely related to animals than plants.
- In terms of taxonomy, fungi and animals both belong to the Opisthokonta supergroup.
- Fungi do not have chlorophyll but plants do.
- Fungi do not have leaves and roots.
- Fungi do not flower nor do they produce seeds and fruits.
- Unlike plants, fungi are incapable of photosynthesis.
- Mycologists have discovered over 70,000 fungi species.
- More than 90% of the discovered fungi are classified into two major categories: basidiomycetes and ascomycetes.
- Basidiomycetes produce mushrooms that may cause plant disease.
- Examples of ascomycetes are yeast and truffles.
- Fungi are eukaryotic organisms, meaning their cells have organelles and their nuclei is surrounded by a membrane well.
- What fungi have that plants and protists don’t is the presence of a substance called chitin in their cell walls.
- Fungi are heterotrophs, meaning they secrete digestive enzymes into the environment then they feed on the molecules dissolved by such enzymes.
- They move mostly through growing, but sometimes their spores travel through water or air.
- Annually, fungi (mushrooms in particular) release a ridiculously large amount of spores into the atmosphere – up to 50 billion kilograms of particulate matter!
- Many types of fungi can be dormant for long periods of time.
- Some fungi are still able to grow sitting dormant for years given the right conditions.
- Fungi are able to grow in extreme environments like the desert, the deep sea, and environments with high levels of salt or UV radiation.
- Fungi mostly have symbiotic relationships with other organisms in the form of mutualism and parasitism.
- Mutualism is an ecological relationship where both organisms benefit from each other.
- Parasitism is an ecological relationship where one organism benefits at the expense of the other.
- Fungi are a major cause of plant disease.
- Without killing the plant, fungi may feed on the living tissues of the plant.
- At other times, the plant cells are killed first by the fungi then the fungi proceeds to feed on the dead remains.
- Fungi could also infect the living tissues of animals which have weak immune systems.
- Fungi called hyphomycetes suppress the growth of insects which may be harmful to agricultural crops.
- Humans may be poisoned by particular types of fungi.
- Deadly fungi contain amatoxins which inhibit RNA polymerase II.
- Cell metabolism stops when RNA polymerase II isn’t supplied.
- Humans may also have an allergic reaction to some types of fungi.
- Fungi have mycotoxins that may cause food spoilage.
- Ringworm, for example, is not caused by a worm but by fungi.
- Other diseases caused by fungi are athlete’s foot, valley fever, and Histoplasmosis.
- Fungi are the main decomposers in an ecosystem.
- Fungi break down the dead organic matter, leaves, and trees that build up in forests.
- When this organic matter is broken down, their nutrients become available for living plants to use.
- When fungi decompose organic matter, nitrogen is a main component that is released into the environment.
TYPES OF FUNGI
- Mushrooms belong to the group club fungi.
- Mushrooms can either be completely edible or deadly poisonous.
- The type of fungi that grow on bread and cheese is mold fungi.
- Mold fungi often looks furry.
- Mushrooms have been cultivated to be edible.
- Yeast is used in the process of baking and brewing.
- Yeast causes bread to rise.
- Fungi are also used to produce medicine, antibiotics, and cyclosporine.
- Penicillin, for instance, was produced from a fungus mold, which is now named Penicillium chrysogenum.
- Penicillin was the first antibiotic discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928.
- The antibiotic cyclosporine is used in organ transplants.
- The invention of the microscope in the 1500s allowed fungi to be fully studied.
- Using the microscope, the first spores were seen by the human eye.
- Italian scholar Giambattista della Porta observed the spores in 1588.
- Some fungi can glow in the dark.
- The largest living organism on earth is a fungus called honey mushroom.
- The honey mushroom covers more than 2,000 acres of land.
- It is approximately 2,400 years old.
- As the honey mushroom spreads in the area, it kills the trees in its way.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the fungi across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Fungi worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about a fungus which is a eukaryotic organism that is part of a kingdom separate from plants and animals. The plural form of fungus is fungi. Examples of fungi are yeasts, mushrooms, and molds.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Fungi Facts
- Name Game
- Fungi or False
- Symbiotic Relationships
- Fungi Crossword
- Pros and Cons
- Various Fungi
- Sketch Them!
- Image Story
- Fun Fungi Facts
- Acrostics Fun!
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Link will appear as Fungi Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 19, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.