Some fungi are single celled (such as yeasts) but others are multicellular, such as the moulds and the more familiar mushrooms
and toadstools. Most are made up of a mycelium, which is a mass of thread-like filaments (hyphae). Their cell walls are made of chitin. Their energy and supply of organic molecules are obtained from other organisms (heterotrophic nutrition). They achieve this by secreting digestive enzymes on to their food source and absorbing the soluble products. They obtain their food directly from other living organisms, possibly causing disease (see Chapter 15), or from dead organic matter, so contributing to its breakdown in the soil (see Chapter 18).
An artificially derived fourth grouping of fungi is included in the classification of fungi.
• The Deuteromycota include species of fungi that only very rarely produce a sexual spore stage. As with plants, the sexual structures of fungi form the most reliable basis for classification. But, here, the main basis for naming is the asexual spore, and mycelium structure. Grey mould (Botrytis), Fusarium patch of turf, and Rhizoctonia rot are placed within this group.
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