Types Of Fungus

A Review Of The Different Types Of Fungus

If you seek a life-long vocation, consider studying and classifying the different types of fungus that are known to exist. There are well over 100,000 types of fungus presently known, and no doubt many more exist, but have yet to be discovered or classified.

Ascomycota - It helps of course when one can start breaking things down into categories, which those who study different types of fungus have attempted to do. Nearly half of the known types of fungus fall into the category of yeasts, and powdery mildew. These fall into the division or classification called Ascomycota. Some Ascomycota are beneficial, such as some yeasts, some are edible, such as the morel and the truffle, and others are considered harmful, attacking plant life. Of the 50,000 or so types of fungus in the Ascomycota category, about half occur only in lichens, making the classification of all types somewhat easier.

Zygomycota  - Another division or classification of fungus is Zygomycota, consisting largely of molds, many of which live in the soil feeding on dead animal and plant life. While Ascomycota fungi are male or female, and sometimes both, the Zygomycota fungi have no distinguishing male or female characteristics.

Basidiomycota - The favorite fungus division of many is the Basidiomycota division, which includes many of the mushrooms we enjoy eating, plus it should be mentioned a few we dare not eat, such as the puffballs. Fungi which are found on plant life in the form of shells or rust also fall into this division.

Deuteromycota - Given something as complicated as classifying all the different types of fungus, it's not a surprise that the fourth division, called the Deuteromycota division, is a kind of miscellaneous division, home to the fungus that don't seem to fit well into any of the other tree divisions. Deuteromycota fungi include some very useful types, important in the making of several kinds of cheeses, as well as types used in the making pr penicillin. Less useful Deuteromycota fungi include those producing athlete's foot and ringworm, and various other diseases.

Simplify To Mushrooms, Yeast, Mold - Perhaps an easier way to classify types of fungus would to say they are either mushrooms, yeasts, or mold, which would take care of most, though not necessarily all the different types. It was long believed that the fungus was a member of the plant family, but these organisms lack some of the features common to all plants, basically leaves and roots, and the tissues that go into the making of leaves, roots and stems. Fungi are either single celled or multi celled, with the latter often consisting of groups of filament-like structures. Those who delve quite deeply into the private life of the fungus have come to regard it as being closer to animal life than to plant life, suggesting, if one believes in Evolution, we all have a distant ancestor that was a fungus, although whether it was a mushroom, mold, or a yeast, no one can say.

Although most types of fungus are parasites and eat the material they happen to be growing on, there are some which enjoy more of a symbiotic relationship with their hosts. These would be the fungi in the Ascomycota division which are prevalent in lichens. Lichens are for the most part made of both of fungi and plant-life, a type of algae, and it is difficult if not impossible to separate one from the other without destroying the lichen itself.

When all the different types of fungi are taken into account, it could almost be said, "we can't live with them, and we can't live without them". There are types we definitely want to keep at arms length, and others including some which reside in our own bodies, that are essential to our very health and well being.