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Fungi

Fungi straddle the realms of microbiology and macrobiology.

They range in size from the single-celled organism we know as yeast to the largest known living organism on Earth — a 3.5-mile-wide mushroom.

Dubbed “the humongous fungus,” this honey mushroom (Armillar... Read More

Fungal Growth and Reproduction

As the “humongous fungus” shows, fungi can grow to enormous mass if unimpeded.

Hyphae grow by adding cells at the tip. Hyphae are very tiny, measuring only a few microns in diameter in some cases. But they can also be incredibly strong, punching through not only the soft membranes of animal ... Read More

What They Look Like


strep Read More

Hunters and Grazers

Most fungi can best be described as grazers, but a few are active hunters.

Hunter fungi prey on tiny protozoa and worm-like creatures called nematodes.

Some produce a sticky substance on their hyphae, which then act like flypaper, trapping passing prey.

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What They Eat


Fungi absorb nutrients from living or dead organic matter (plant or animal stuff) that they grow on. They absorb simple, easily dissolved nutrients, such as sugars, through their cell walls. They give off special digestive enzymes to break down complex nutrient... Read More

Where They’re Found


Fungi can be found in rising bread, moldy bread, and old food in the refrigerator, and on forest floors. Most decompose non-living things, but some damage crops and plants. A few cause problems in people, such as Candida, which causes yeast infections.... Read More

Notable Bacteria



  • Bacillus anthracis causes anthrax, a deadly disease in cattle and a potential bioweapon against humans




  • .Brucella abortus causes breeding losses in livestock.




  • Cyanobacteria (formerly known as blue-green algae) live in water, where they prod... Read More

What They Eat


borrelia Read More

Bacteria

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What They Eat


Archaeans dine on a variety of substances for energy, including hydrogen gas, carbon dioxide and sulfur. One type of salt-loving archaean uses sunlight to make energy, but not the way plants do it. This archaean has a light-harvesting pigment in the membrane su... Read More

Life at the Extreme

Many archaeans thrive in conditions that would kill other creatures: boiling water, super-salty pools, sulfur-spewing volcanic vents, acidic water and deep in Antarctic ice. These types of archaea are often labeled "extremophiles," meaning creatures that love extreme conditions.

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The Extremists

ice Read More

Classifications: What Difference Does it Make?

Does a bacterium’s cell wall, shape, way of moving, and environment really matter?

Yes! The more we know about bacteria, the more we are able to figure out how to make microbes work for us or stop dangerous ones from causing serious harm. And, for those of us who like to ponder more philosop... Read More

Early Origins

Archaeans are among the earliest forms of life that appeared on Earth billions of years ago. It’s now generally believed that the archaea and bacteria developed separately from a common ancestor nearly 4 billion years ago. Millions of years later, the ancestors of today's eukaryotes split off... Read More

How They Move

Some bacteria have hair- or whip-like appendages called flagella used to ‘swim’ around. Others produce thick coats of slime and ‘glide’ about. Some stick out thin, rigid spikes called fimbriae to help hold them to surfaces. Some contain little particles of minerals t... Read More

Where They’re Found

Bacteria can be found virtually everywhere. They are in the air, the soil, and water, and in and on plants and animals, including us. A single teaspoon of topsoil contains about a billion bacterial cells (and about 120,000 fungal cells and some 25,000 algal cells). The human mouth is home to ... Read More

What They Look Like


Some archaea look like little rods or tiny balls, and some even get around like bacteria, using long hair- or whip-like appendages called flagella that stick out of their cell walls and act like a microscopic outboard motor to get them where they are going.

... Read More

How They Move


fungal_spores Read More

Protista

Algae, Protozoa, Slime Molds, and Water Molds


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Viruses of Note


  • Adenoviruses are used in experimental gene therapy treatments to deliver therapeutic genes.



  • Bacteriophages are being explored as tools to treat bacterial infections by targeting and destroying infectious bacteria.


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