What is Difference Between Mushrooms and Fungus?

The key difference between mushrooms and fungus is that the mushrooms are fruiting bodies of certain fungi belonging to the order Agaricales of phylum Basidiomycota while the fungus is any member of eukaryotic microorganisms such as yeast, moulds, mildews, mushrooms, etc., that belong to kingdom Fungi.

Kingdom Fungi is one of the five kingdoms of living organisms. However, they are a separate class of microorganisms that reproduce from spores and are thus different from plants that can do photosynthesis to make food for themselves.

Fungi consist of moulds, yeast, mildew, and mushrooms. Moreover, fungi can be either unicellular or multicellular. Mushrooms are fruiting bodies of a certain group of fungi, and the most common or famous of these are those that have a button-like structure with a stem. Mushrooms can either be edible or non-edible (poisonous).

What are Mushrooms?

Mushrooms are reproductive structures of certain types of fungi that belong to phylum Basidiomycota. In fact, a mushroom is just an attempt of a microorganism (fungus) to reproduce. It is a fruiting body appearing during the reproduction of macroscopic fungi of the order Agaricales.

Moreover, they develop above ground commonly on dead logs and faeces. Their mycelium grows below the ground. Structurally, they are different from other fungi such as yeasts and moulds since they produce visible macroscopic fruiting bodies.

Mushrooms are two types; edible or non-edible (toadstools). Non-edible mushrooms produce colourful caps, and they are poisonous.

What is a Fungus?

Fungi (singular – fungus) are a group of eukaryotic organisms belonging to the kingdom Fungi. The kingdom fungi include organisms such as moulds, rusts, smuts, mushrooms and yeasts that are totally different from plants and animals.

Likewise, kingdom fungi comprise four major phyla namely Chytridiomycota, Zygomycota, Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. Study of fungi is called mycology, which is a part of microbiology. The fungus lives on soil and plant materials.

They show certain similar characteristics with animals, not with plants. The main reason for this is the inability to photosynthesis and lack of chlorophylls. Most fungi are multicellular while yeasts are unicellular.

Moreover, most of the fungi are saprophytic. They release extracellular enzymes, digest dead organic matter and absorb nutrients. Hence, they are the best decomposers in the environment. Furthermore, some fungus is parasitic while some are pathogenic.

Furthermore, fungi live in associations with cyanobacteria, plants, animal, etc. A beneficial association of fungi with higher plant roots is the mycorrhizal association. Mycorrhizae are very much important in plant nutrition. Fungus helps plants to absorb nutrients.

The association of fungi with cyanobacteria is the lichen which is an important environmental indicator. Some fungi such as Penicillium and Aspergillus, are industrially important since they are the microorganisms used to produce antibiotics, organic acids and some useful secondary metabolites.

What are the Similarities Between Mushrooms and Fungus?

  • Mushroom is a fruiting body produced by a certain group of fungi.
  • Both types have chitin in their cell walls.
  • Moreover, both lack chlorophylls, and hence, unable to photosynthesize.
  • Also, both are heterotrophs.
  • Furthermore, they produce spores to reproduce.
  • Besides, mushrooms and fungus are very good decomposers in the environment.

What is the Difference Between Mushrooms and Fungus?

Mushrooms are macroscopic fruiting bodies of certain fungi. On the other hand, the fungus is any member of the kingdom fungi that mainly includes yeasts, moulds, and mushrooms. Therefore, this is the key difference between mushrooms and fungus.

Furthermore, another difference between mushrooms and fungus is that the mushrooms belong to the phylum Basidiomycota while the fungus belongs to the phyla Chytridiomycota, Zygomycota, Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. Also, mushrooms develop above ground while fungus can grow below ground.

Moreover, a further difference between mushrooms and fungus is that the mushroom fungi are filamentous while fungi can be either unicellular or filamentous. Besides, all mushrooms are fungi but, not all fungus produce mushrooms.

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