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Fungi & bacteria

What are Fungi (plural for fungus)?

Fungi are in a unique group of their own. This group contains:-

  • mushrooms

  • moulds

  • yeasts

Fungi are not plants as they do not have chlorophyll for photosynthesis. They reproduce by millions of spores, and live as a decomposer, breaking down rotting vegetation, the main body of fungi being made up of fine, hair-like filaments called mycelium. The ‘mushroom’ part is the fruiting body producing the spores. Fungi are important decomposers in most ecosystems. They are also essential to the growth and health of living plants. They are very useful in making penicillin medicine (penicillium mould), the rising of bread (yeast), fermentation of beer and wine (yeast), and in making cheese (mould).

What are Bacteria?

Bacteria are small single-celled organisms, are found almost everywhere on Earth and are vital to the planet's ecosystems. Some species can live under extreme conditions of temperature and pressure. The human body is full of bacteria, and in fact is estimated to contain more bacterial cells than human cells. Some bacteria help to digest food, destroy disease-causing cells, and give the body much-needed vitamins. Bacteria are also used in making healthy foods like yogurt and cheese. But infectious bacteria can make you ill, reproducing very quickly in your body.

Many bacteria are beneficial to animals and plants in an ecosystem, including contributing widely as decomposers.

Examples of bacteria are:-

  • lactobacillus – found in the human gut and helps digestion

  • streptococcus – causes infection such as sore throats

  • Bacillus subtilis - decomposer bacteria

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