The kingdom of fungi

The fungal kingdom includes all the organisms that are commonly known as fungi (a large group of multi-cellular organisms that also includes edible mushrooms), yeast (unicellular organisms responsible for fermentation) and mildews (organisms of microscopic size, such as the green-coloured Penicillium). This kingdom is composed of heterotrophic organisms, because they feed themselves by absorbing organic matter from the environment. Fungi produce molecules, the so-called digestive enzymes, which are used to degrade the organic matter so that it can be absorbed.
Fungi are mainly multi-cellular organisms composed of masses of threads and living virtually anywhere. A group of fungi, commonly known as yeast, includes unicellular organisms, such as, for instance, Saccaromyces cerevisiae.
Some fungi are parasites of animals, plants, protista and even of other fungi, while others are saprobic (they live by decomposing dead organic matter) and are essential for the degradation of the matter. Some species have developed complex symbioses with photosynthetic organisms, as in mycorrhizas or lichens.

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From the Multimedia section

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