What are the characteristics and types of Deuteromycota? Information on Deuteromycota, imperfect fungi, lichens and mycorrhizae.
Deuteromycota (Imperfect Fungi)
This group includes fungi with no known sexual stage. One of the best known genera of imperfect fungi is Penicillum. This fungus is a source of the antibiotic penicillin.
Some types of fungi live in close mutually dependent association with plants or animals. Lichens are combinations of fungi and algae living in such close association that they seem to be single plant form lichen. The fungi in lichen may be ascomycetes or basid-iomycetes, whereas the algae may be green algae, blue- green algae, or both may be present in the same community. The purpose of this relationship is that the algae provide fungi with nutrients and oxygen, whereas the fungi provide algae with minerals and water, and in addition to this, protects the algal cells from intense sunlight. This is the reason why lichens are very resistant to environmental shifts and can live in a great variety of ecosystems like extremely hot and dry deserts, or, cold mountains.
Mycorrhiza is another form of a mutualistic relationship seen between fungi and plants. The term “Mycorrhizae” means “fungus root”. As you can understand from the meaning, the fungi are taking place in the roots of the plants this time. The purpose of this relationship is that the fungus helps the plant get more water and nutrients from the ground. They do this by increasing the total surface area of the root system of the plant and by releasing enzymes which free the nutrients in the soil. In return, the plant provides the fungi with the products of photosynthesis.
The importance of presence of fungi in the root system has been understood better in recent years. Many plants mostly depend on these organisms to take in water and minerals from the soil. About half of all the basidiomycetes that form mushrooms live a symbiotic relationship with especially oak and pine trees. This is why when you are walking in the forest; you see mushrooms at the bottom of the trees!