Fungi Fungi are the great decomposers of the biosphere. Most plants form mycorrhizae with fungi to increase absorptive area without having to grow more roots, in this relationship fungi recieve carbohydrates from plants. Humans consume fungi, mushrooms, may use fungi as a source of drugs for blood pressure, antibiotics and immunosuppresive drugs. Fungi are used in biotechnology to produce fermetation products, and some have been very useful models to study gentics in eukaryotic cells that are unicellular such as yeasts. About one third of fungi may cause infections, mycoses, in plants, animals and humans. Fungi tolerate concentration of salt and sugar that plasmolyze bacteria in perserved foods exposed to air which contains fungal spores may germinate and may spoil food. Fungi have two body shapes, molds and yeasts. Mold are large and made of long filamentous hyphae. Hyphae form mats called mycelium ( plural is mycelia). Mycelia may extend for miles underground, making fungi the largest organism on earth. The visible portion of subterrean fungi are the fruitng bodies such as mushrooms. Yeasts are globular and unicellular. They may bud forming up 24 daughter cells from a single cell. When budding is incomplete it may produce a psuedohypa. Fungi that may exist in both body types are dimorphic fungi. In general, the yeast form of a dimorphic fungus is a pathogen, the filamentous form is not pathogenic. Examples are Histoplasmosis capsulatum (histoplasmosis) and Coccidiodes immitis (coccidioidomycosis). Fungi are saprobes, they absorb nutrients from the remains of dead plants or they lasso nematodes. Fungi may derive nutrients from a living plant utilizing haustoria which are modified hyphae that penetrate living plant tissue. Some fungi use melanin to absorb gamma rays which they convert to chemical energy. Some herbivores have fungi in thier gut microbiome to help digest plants. Zygomycota contains 1100 species and reproduces asexually through sporangiaspores, which form in a sac called a sporangium on a stalk called a sporangiaphore. An example is Nosema which is an obligate intracellular parasite in insects and honeybees. Ascomycota havd 32,000 species form haploid ascospores in sacs called ascus (asci plura) and reproduce asexually with condiospores which develop on the tips of hyphae on stalks called conidiophores. Examples are Claviceps purpurea, ergot, which grows on grain and causes abortions in cattle and hallucinations in humans. Penicillium the source of the first antibiotic discovered by Fleming in the 1940s. Saccharomyces, a facultative anaerobe, ferments sugar to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide gas and is used in baking and brewing. Neurospora was used as a model to study molecular biology, Beadle and Tatum established one gene one enzyme using this model organism.
14. Why are there more antibacterial drugs than antifungal drugs? Basidiomycota have fruiting bodies called basidiocarps. Basidiospores are dispersed by the wind and germinate in warm moist environments. An example is the pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans the leading cause of fungal meningitis
There are fewer antifungal drugs available because pathogenic fungi are eukaryotes like their animal or human host & thus share many common features. There are more antibacterials drugs because of the significant differences between the structure & metabolism of prokaryotic bacteria to the eukaryotic host. Other possible reasons are:
? The number of bacterial species are higher than the species of fungal.
? Bacteria cause more of human infections as compared by fungi.
? Most antifungal drugs work for the treatment of all fungi infections in humans, while it not so with bacteria.
? Bacterial resistance to antibacterial drugs is more frequent than fungi resistance to antifungal drugs, thus making antibacterial drugs more in existence.
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