Zygomycota is mostly terrestrial in habitat. They thrive from decaying animal or plant decays. Some Zygomycota forms a symbiotic association with plants where they depend on each other for their living, while others are parasitic and depend on insects, animals, and plants for their living (Benny, 2000). A black bread mold is a form of Zygomycota that spreads on the surface of bread as well as other decaying food sources. Its hyphae penetrate inside the food to absorb nutrients.
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Zygomycota produces through the asexual as well as the sexual process. For asexual production to happen, there must be the development of bulbous black sporangia first at the tip of standing hyphae. Normally, the hyphae will contain spores. On the other hand, for sexual production to take place, there must be an association between haploids of various mating types at proximity.
This leads to the growth of gametangia that results in the fusion of the cytoplasm. Subsequently, the fusion of the nuclei then occurs. The zygosporangium that is formed from this fusion is diploid and has thick walls which are highly resilient to harsh environmental conditions as well as metabolically inert. The zygosporangium germinates under favorable conditions to form vegetable hyphae. For asexual reproduction of Zygomycota to occur, sporangia and sporangiospores must develop first. Thereafter, any further development of the sporangium occurs via sporangial cytoplasm courtesy of the internal cleavage.
At maturity, the walls of sporangial disintegrate, thereby making the spores free which are then dispersed by wind or water (Alexopoulos and Blackwell, 1996).
Ascomycota is usually produced sexually as well as asexually. Sexual production occurs through ascospores or meiospores while asexual reproduction occurs through conidia. Some Ascomycota can outbreed others self-breed while others reproduce from both processes. The sexual reproduction method occurs through vegetative reproductive spores that are referred to as conidia.
Usually, conidiophores contain a single nucleus. Conidiophores come about as a result of mitotic cell divisions. Their genetic makeup is also similar to that of mycelium,
Ascomycota usually undergoes asexual reproduction. These Ascomycota are to be found in conidia, at the end of the hyphae. Usually, the hyphae are called conidiophores. This is different from the zygomycetes that undergo asexual reproduction.
They take any liquid as long as there is some water present in it (Berbee, 2001).
Basidiomycota reproduces sexually as well as asexually. When underground environmental conditions are favorable for Basidiomycota, Basidiomycota forms reproductive structures that facilitate the formation of spores that are formed at the tip of the Basidiomycota in a structure referred to as Basidiomycota (McKerracher, 1985). The formation of these spores results from meiosis that splits the genetic code of the Basidiomycota in its half.
When two basidiospore combines, a new organism is formed which sprout more Basidiomycota to continue with the reproduction process. Basidiospores on the other hand can also reproduce asexually from their underground structures by dividing themselves to form duplicates of themselves which makes them spread their hyphae out as they look for compatible basidiospore. Once they come into contact with their compatible partner, they join to continue with their reproduction cycle (Lichtwardt, 1986).
Zygomycota, Ascomycota as well as Basidiomycota reproduce both sexually as well as asexually. Ascomycota and Basidiomycota have similar reproductive cycles, although they have different structures for reproduction. Basidiomycota produces their spores in basidia cells, while Ascomycota produces their spores in asci which are tube-like cells. The asci have to burst to disperse the top of the spore continues with the asexual reproduction which later merges to form sexually producing structures.
Alexopoulos, C. J. and Blackwell, M. (1996). Introductory to Mycology. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Benny, G. L. (2000). Amoebidium parasitism is a protozoan, not a Trichomycete. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Berbee, M. L. (2001). Fungal molecular evolution: gene trees and geologic time. New York: Springer-Verlag.
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Lichtwardt, R. W. (1986). The Trichomycetes, fungal associates of arthropods. New York: Springer-Verlag.
McKerracher, L. J. (1985). The structure and cycle of the nucleus-associated organelle in two species of Basidiobolus. New York: Prentice Hall.