Photo by ama
- What are we
- What are we made of
- How are fruit bodies made
- Some fungi help plants to grow
- Fungi break down wood
- How big are fungi?
- How old are fungi?
- Where can you find fungi?
- What do fungi do?
Here you can see a rotten log with fine white threads (the mycelium) of a fungus that can break down wood.
Why is wood tough?
Wood is made up of long chains of special building blocks called 'lignins' and 'cellulose'. They are found in the cell walls of plants. By linking together they make wood tough.
Remember that to grow, a fungus must find food and break it down. The sorts of food that a fungus eats are dead trees and other dead plants, such as leaves.
Photo by ama
Here are some fruit bodies of a fungus that breaks down leaf litter
What happens to the breadstick?
When you eat the breadstick it is broken down into simple sugars by special substances in your mouth calle d enzymes.
Can you taste how sweet the bread stick is when it is broken down?
Fungi use enzymes to break down wood and other dead plant and animal material.
The difference is that we ‘take in food' (like a breadstick) and then break it down using enzymes in our mouths and stomachs, whereas fungi send enzymes out of their fine threads (called hyphae) to break down dead plants such as trees - and then ‘take in’ the food! I suppose you could say we are opposites!