Mushrooms symbionts, saprophytes and parasites

Mushrooms symbionts, saprophytes and parasites

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All organisms on earth perform any functions that benefit or harm the environment. For example, some mushrooms replenish their reserves, destroying dead remains, while others feed on living organisms.

The value of mushrooms in nature

Nutrients decomposed by mushrooms are subsequently absorbed by other plants. Hat species feed on living things (animals and insects). There are also such mushrooms that are specially grown artificially. These are champignons and oyster mushrooms. Moldy mushrooms (aspergillus, penicillas) are used to produce antibiotics and even hard cheeses. Ergot (formed on cereals) is used to combat malignant tumors.

Many parasitic fungi cause harm to living organisms and plants, causing diseases. Significant damage is caused to wood. It is not recommended to use contaminated building material for wooden buildings. Since the mushroom culture can cause fatal poisoning, experts advise treating its collection with great care.

Features of parasite fungi

Symbiont mushrooms

Symbiosis - cohabitation of various organisms, in which both benefit. Symbiotic mushrooms participate in the formation of two symbioses:

  • lichens formed as a result of interaction with algae and bacteria;
  • mycorrhiza - with the root system of plants.

Power Features

Mushrooms, braiding on the small roots of plant organisms, feed on the organic substances that make up their composition. Such actions do not harm plants, but contribute to the absorption of beneficial substances (nitrogen, phosphorus, trace elements) and water from the soil.

Names and descriptions of popular symbiont mushrooms

Usually, cap mushrooms are classified as a mixed type of food, which can receive organic matter from both plant roots and humus.

  • Boletus. Interacts with aspens, oaks, willows and poplars. The brown hemisphere hat has a reddish or orange hue. It is impossible to separate the skin layer without pulp. The height of the gray legs is up to 18 cm. The fruiting body is fleshy and dense. Young individuals are resilient, while old ones become loose. At the break, the white flesh turns blue over time, and then blackens. It does not have a pronounced aroma.
  • Boletus. It grows near birch roots. Over the course of a lifetime, the mushroom cap changes from a spherical shape to a flat, reminiscent pillow. With high humidity, it becomes sticky to the touch. The white flesh of a dense structure at the cut point is oxidized. In older individuals, it becomes watery and loose. A cylindrical leg covered with dark gray scales.
  • Butterdish and saffron milk cap. Settled under coniferous trees. Oilfishes are characterized by mucous skin, as if coated with oil. Hats with a hemisphere shape reaching 16 cm in diameter are colored in a spectrum of colors from brown-chocolate to yellow-brown. As they grow older, the shape straightens, turning into a flat one. The color of the legs is usually lighter. The pulp is juicy. A camelina is characterized by a round hat with concentric circles and a depressed center. In contact with air, the orange flesh oxidizes to a greenish tint.

If the host tree is destroyed, then the fungi growing under them will also disappear.


Saprotrophic organisms (reducers, saprophytes) feed on organic compounds resulting from the destruction of dead animals and plants.

Features of the structure and nutrition

Saprophytes include many large mushrooms, consisting of a large number of light spores, which allow effortless spread to other food sources.

This population of mushrooms prefers to settle on the remains of plant origin:

  • fallen needles, foliage;
  • feathers and horns;
  • twigs;
  • bumps;
  • stems of annual herbs;
  • kick.

Saprophytes draw nutrients from dead sources. Certain types of fungi grow depending on the substrate.

Examples of saprophytes

Since all living organisms have a beginning and an end, saprophytes play an important role in the cycle of substances, destroying the natural biomass consisting of mono-organic substances. Edible mushrooms include:

  • morels;
  • dung beetles;
  • Champignon;
  • umbrellas.

Among the saprotrophic organisms there are also unfit for food, which pose a danger to human life.

What are mushrooms dangerous for humans?

Mushrooms - Parasites

Unlike fungi that perform useful activities, parasitic organisms do not benefit the host plant, but destroy it during life. Tree infection occurs through damaged bark. Mushroom spores, transported with a stream of air, penetrate exposed areas and settle on wood.

In order to avoid infection of fruit trees, it is necessary to take preventive measures in a timely manner: watering in the summer months, shelter for the winter, isolating wounds with a garden var. In the event of a parasitic growth on the trunk, it is recommended to destroy the tree, it is better to burn it.

Appearance and nutrition

Parasitic fungi are annuals and perennials that can survive up to 25 years. Different species of individuals differ from each other in color, shape, structure, size and life expectancy. In shape, fruiting bodies are hemispherical or hat-shaped, as well as peaks similar to a hoof or spearhead. Shapeless growths in the form of convex or layered bodies also occur. Perennials are able to gain up to 10 kg of weight and grow to the size of one meter. The color spectrum of parasites is also diverse. The body structure is similar to wood, or soft skin.

Settling on living plants, fungi feed on the organic matter of living host cells. As a result, the tree is dealt enormous damage. Having settled on crops, they lead to the formation of dangerous diseases and reduce the yield.

Some parasites can adapt well to the host, stimulating its development in the initial stage. They feed on educated growths without developing mycelium inside the tree.

Edible species of parasite fungi

Hat mushrooms are usually saprotrophs. Less common are parasites, for example, honey agaric. Entering symbiosis with the root system, fungi permeate it with mycorrhiza, which entwine around the root processes.

The presence of a ring on the leg of the mushroom formed the name of the mushroom. Prefers to grow in large colonies. It is salted, fried, pickled. Valued for its high mineral content. Only 100 grams of the product contains the daily requirement of the body for these elements.

Since honey agarics cause wood rot, they are dangerous parasites. Black shoelaces of mycelium penetrate the bark and, releasing toxic substances, affect wood. As a result, a young tree can die in 1-3 years. The old copy dies after 10 years. After a mushroom settles on a tree, its growth slows down. The protective substances that the tree produces cannot stop the process, but only slow it down.

A parasite fungus that feeds on the sap of a tree is a tinder fungus. There are several varieties of this population. Although there are very few poisonous representatives, they are mainly used in cooking because of the solid. Some species are considered delicacies. To taste the sulfur-yellow tinder is reminiscent of chicken meat. In some countries, tinder workers are specially cultivated on farms.

Eat should be young specimens of polypore collected in hardwood. Individuals growing on conifers threaten with light poisoning. Experienced mushroom pickers recommend eating only well-known mushroom populations.

The main differences between saprophytes and parasites

It is wrong to assume that any microorganisms that feed on organic food are parasitic. Organisms that survive at the expense of others are considered parasites. They can settle both inside any body, and outside.

Saprophytes feed only on the remains of plants or animals. These include soil and mold fungi, as well as mold bacteria. Thus, The main differences between saprophytes and parasites are several features:

  1. The method of existence and the nature of the nutrition of organisms: parasitic individuals feed on the organic structures of a living host; saprophytes live on dead plant bodies.
  2. Unlike parasites, saprophytes usually do not harm the human body.
  3. The habitat for saprophytes can be both living and non-living structures. Parasites live only in a living organism.

In some cases, fungi from parasites turn into saprophytes, which initially settle on living plants, and after their death they continue to live, eating dead wood. Such mushrooms are called symbionts.

Interesting facts about mushrooms

Mushrooms do not bypass any plant community, taking part in their life. They work closely with them, ensuring the mineralization of organic elements, and also actively participate in the cycle of substances in nature.

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