Mycelium

From Academic Kids

Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus consisting of a mass of branching threadlike hyphae that exists below the ground or within another substrate. It is through the mycelium that a fungus absorbs nutrients from its environment. It does this in a two stage process. Firstly the hyphae secrete enzymes onto the food source which breaks down polymers into monomers. These monomers are then absorbed into the mycelium by facilitated diffusion and active transport. Mycelium is also a vital component in many ecosystems in that it helps increase the efficiency of water and nutrient absorption of many plants and also is vital to the decomposition and breaking-up of plant material to form the organic part of soil and to release carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.

The familiar hat-like head and stalk of mushrooms are in fact reproductive structures of ascomycetes and basidiomycetes fungi, and are not classified as mycelium.

See also: mycorrhiza, carbon cycle, sclerotia, Paul Stamets

Reference

  • Smith, M., Bruhn, J., and Anderson, J. 1992. The fungus Armillaria bulbosa is among the largest and oldest living organisms. Nature 356:428-431.

External links

de:Myzel eo:Micelio fr:MycÚlium sv:Mycel wa:Miceliom

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