Nutrition

Most fungi are saprobic (although some have other modes of nutrition), that is, they obtain their nutrients from decaying matter, which they grow over and through, frequently secreting enzymes extracellu-larly to break down complex molecules to simpler forms that can then be absorbed by the hyphae. Most fungi are able to synthesise their own amino acids and proteins from carbohydrates and simple nitrogenous compounds. Although fungi are unable to move, they can swiftly colonise new territory as a result of the rapid rate at which their hyphae grow. All energy is concentrated on adding length rather than thickness; this growth pattern leads to an increase in surface area and is an adaptation to an absorptive way of life. Carbohydrates are stored mainly in the form of glycogen (c.f. starch in higher plants, green algae). Metabolism is generally aerobic, but some yeasts anaerobes.

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