The critical dissimilarity in distinguishing fungi from mushrooms is that mushrooms are the breeding grounds for certain fungi. Fungi that use mushrooms are from the class Agaricales and phylum Basidiomycota. On the other hand, fungi are simply members of the eukaryotic microorganisms belonging to fungi’s kingdom. Fungi comprise of molds, mushrooms, and mildews.
Though fungi fall under the five kingdoms of living organisms, their class is different, as they reproduce through spores. Furthermore, they are unlike plants that photosynthesize to make their food. Typically, the kingdom fungi are made up of unicellular and multicellular fungi.
What are mushrooms?
Mushrooms or toadstools are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting bodies of fungi; they are typically produced aboveground, soil, or the food source. Aside from mushrooms being the fungus’ fruiting body, they can also be edible (some). The most prevalent and popular type of mushroom are those whose body appears to be like a cup rooted on a stem.
The Morphologically difference between mushrooms and fungi is that Mushrooms can either develop from pinhead or nodule, called primordium. Mushrooms grow within the fungus mycelium, which appears in the form of thread-like structures. The primordium grows into an egg-like structure of interwoven hyphae, and it’s called “button.”
The button consists of the mycelium’s cotton-like roll, which is referred to as the universal veil. The veil circularly surrounds the developing fruit. Provided that the button is to expand, the cover ruptures, and it remains like a cup at the stalk‘s base or, at times, be volval patches on the cap.
However, other mushrooms may lack the veil hence the volva patches. In this case, the partial veil covers the gills that bear spores. When the cap expands, the veil remains a ring, the ‘annulus’ around the stipe.
So, when distinguishing a mushroom from the fungus, the structures mentioned above shall guide you through.
Types of mushrooms and fungi
To differentiate between fungi and mushrooms, below are types of mushrooms.
1. Saprophytic Mushrooms
Saprophytic mushrooms grow out of decaying matter. They get nutrients from their substrates by using enzymes that break down specific food substrates into simple absorbable nutrients. Saprophytic mushrooms commonly grow on decaying plants, wood, and animals. Saptotrophs are essential in cleaning up the environment as they help in the decomposition of decaying matter. Saprophytic mushrooms include puffballs, enoki, and oysters, among others.
2. Parasitic Mushrooms
From the word parasite, parasitic mushrooms take all nutrients from plants without giving anything back. Provided that the mushroom duration on the host is significant, the mushroom will permanently exhaust the host plant nutrients and eventually devour it.
Parasitic mushrooms consist of chaga, which has medicinal properties, a lion’s mane, and honey mushrooms. Moreover, parasitic mushrooms are not limited to trees or plants. For instance, the caterpillar fungus is a mushroom that feeds on insects, and in the long run, terminates them by projecting from the insect’s head.
What are fungi?
Fungi, unlike mushrooms, are a kingdom comprising of eukaryotic organisms that are typically heterotrophs. Fungi organisms play an essential role in the ecosystem’s nutrient cycling process. Fungi commonly reproduce asexually and sexually producing spores in the long run. Fungi have symbiotic associations with plants and bacteria, a feature that mushrooms lack.
Morphologically fungi grow as hyphae. New Hyphae grows or emerges at old hyphae apices through a process called branching. The overall growth processes result in mycelium development, which is an interconnected network of hyphae. Mycelium results in the growth of fruiting bodies, the mushroom.
Furthermore, most of the fungi hyphae are usually septate. The septate hyphae consist of two compartments distinguished by cross walls. The internal wall, or the septa, contains pores. Consequently, pores allow nuclei to create new fungus to pass through, and it’s formed at right angles to the cell wall; hence, it gives the hyphae its shape.
Which type of fungi produces mushroom?
Most fungi that produce mushrooms fall under the phylums Basidiomycota or Ascomycota. This group’s critical difference is based on how the spores develop and if they can be detected only by the microscope’s use. However, “ascos” are commonly unnoticeable and are shaped like small cups.
Types of fungi
These are unicellular fungi used in baking and can also be found in pharmacies as probiotics for diarrhea treatment. However, some yeasts are hazardous to the human body, given that it’s in contact with the mouth, esophagus, bowel, or vagina; it can trigger fatal infections.
Molds are multicellular fungi that appear as fuzzy complexions. Molds are both harmful and helpful. For instance, it’s used in the production of the antibiotic penicillin and cheese production as well.
On the negative side, they contaminate starchy foods. In case such contamination is ingested, it results in miscarriages, congenital disabilities, and certain types of cancer. They commonly appear on bread and fruits. On the other hand, mildew is a mold whose growth is visible on plants, walls, leather, paper, and damp clothes.
3. Mycorrhizal mushrooms
These mushrooms have symbiotic relations with their host. Their mycelium weaves themselves into the roots of hosts. The mushroom gives moisture and other nutrients to the host, and in return, they get sugars.
These are mushrooms that have a symbiotic relationship with trees and other plants. The mycelium (basically the roots of mushrooms) weave themselves into the roots of other plants. The mushrooms give extra moisture and other nutrients to the plants they pair with, and in return, the plant gives them sugars. The common mycorrhizal mushrooms fungi are truffles, porcini, matsutake, and chanterelles.
Like parasitic mushrooms, endophytic invade plants. The difference is that the host stays healthy and appears to gain increased immunity to disease. It also absorbs nutrients more efficiently.
Moreover, endophytes can be cultivated without a host. Some endophytes end up producing mushrooms while others never emerge until they die. Endophytic fungi invade plant tissue like a parasitic mushroom. But the plant stays healthy and seems to gain an increased immunity to disease, and absorbs nutrients more efficiently.
Why are mushrooms different from fungi?
Mushrooms have a beautiful, exquisite, lumpy, and bumpy fruiting body reputation. They grow out of the ground or from woods; they are undoubtedly structures for fungi reproduction.
The fungi then comprise the whole organism. That’s the mycelium or roots and the mushroom/fruit itself. Despite all these, some types of fungi, such as bread molds, never produce fruiting bodies.
For instance, if we were to talk about the berry tree, the mushroom will be equal to the berry fruit but as a part of an organism. The rest of the tree can then be equated to the fungi, which is the entire organism. With all things, considered mushrooms can be fungi, but not all fungi produce mushrooms.
How are mushrooms different from fungi?
Mushrooms generally grow from spores that are not visible to the human eye. Apart from the soil, spores also rely on sawdust, grain, straw, or wood chips for nourishment. Various mushrooms species seem to appear growing and expanding rapidly overnight. In reality, nearly mushrooms primarily take a couple of days to form the primordial fruit bodies; however, water absorption can aggravate rapid expansion.
On the other hand, various fungi types also grow through tiny spores that sprout and grow into a new fungus. Fungi These spores can either be sexually or asexually produced.
Irrefutably the only difference, in this case, is that spore production is done by a fruiting body, which in this is the mushroom. Spores can be dispersed by wind or can be explosively burst out.
How are mushrooms similar to fungus?
Besides mushrooms being the fruiting body of certain fungi, the other fungi and mushroom similarity is chitin within their cell wall. They lack chlorophyll, making them heterotrophs that reproduce through spores. Moreover, they play an essential role as decomposers in the environment.
Uses of fungi and mushrooms
Fungi are versatile medication sources and are used in the makeup of antibiotics such as penicillin, cephalosporin, and drug cyclosporine. These drugs prevent transplant rejection.
On the other hand, edible mushrooms like chaga have medicinal properties. The mushrooms can therefore prevent aging, treat and prevent cancer, and boost immunity as well.
Yeast is a fungus, plays a critical role in the fermentation process. It enables the leavening of dough, and it essential in beer brewing.
Fungi also act as biological insecticides. They are specific on particular insects they target and do not affect animals or plants.
All types of edible mushrooms have different levels of protein and fiber. They are also prevalently known to contain vitamins B and the selenium antioxidant. Selenium helps in boosting the immune system and protects the cells and tissues against damage.
In summary, fungi are eukaryotic microorganisms from the kingdom fungi. They can be multicellular or unicellular and filamentous or non-filamentous. Fungi comprise of molds, mildews, and mushrooms. When considering mushrooms, their appearance is always orchestrated by fungi since they are the fungi groups’ breeding bodies.
Therefore, not all fungi produce mushrooms or breeding bodies, but mushrooms can’t exist without the presence of fungi. Hence the different varieties of mushrooms are due to different types of fungi.