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5.4.1: Introduction

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    Left photo shows a cluster of mushrooms with bell-like domes attached to slender stalks. Middle photo shows a yellowish-orange fungus that grows in a cluster and is lobe-shaped. Right photo is a micrograph that shows a long, slender stalk that branches into long chains of spores that look like a string of beads.
    Figure 24.1 Many species of fungus produce the familiar mushroom (a) which is a reproductive structure. This (b) coral fungus displays brightly colored fruiting bodies. This electron micrograph shows (c) the spore-bearing structures of Aspergillus, a type of toxic fungus found mostly in soil and plants. (credit “mushroom”: modification of work by Chris Wee; credit “coral fungus”: modification of work by Cory Zanker; credit “Aspergillus”: modification of work by Janice Haney Carr, Robert Simmons, CDC; scale-bar data from Matt Russell)

    The word fungus comes from the Latin word for mushrooms. Indeed, the familiar mushroom is a reproductive structure used by many types of fungi. However, there are also many fungus species that don't produce mushrooms at all. Being eukaryotes, a typical fungal cell contains a true nucleus and many membrane-bound organelles. The kingdom Fungi includes an enormous variety of living organisms. While scientists have identified about 135,000 species of fungi, this is only a fraction of the more than 1.5 million species of fungus likely present on Earth. Edible mushrooms, yeasts, black mold, and the producer of the antibiotic penicillin, Penicillium notatum, are all members of the kingdom Fungi, which belongs to the domain Eukarya.

    This page titled 5.4.1: Introduction is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by OpenStax via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.