Not all fungi are microscopic. You can see mushrooms, mold and mildew, for example. But most fungi feed through microscopic threads called hyphae. These threads dig into a food source, such as dead wood, bread, leaves or plants. They release chemicals that break down the food. Then the fungi digest it and use the nutrients.
Fungi feed on dead animals, bird droppings, manure, wallpaper paste, fruit or even living animals. They’ll eat almost anything that was once alive. Most fungi is helpful. They break down dead matter. Consider them the planet’s clean-up crew. Some fungi can cause problems when they destroy clothing, books or food, or when they cause disease. Molds and mildews hurt growing plants. Some fungal diseases, such as athlete’s foot, hurt humans.
Fun Facts about Fungi for Kids
- Many types of mushrooms grow wild. Some of these are edible, but some are very poisonous. The Destroying Angel mushroom is a white mushroom poisonous enough to kill you.
- The yeast that makes bread rise is a kind of fungus.
- Penicillin is made from the blue mold, Penicillium. Penicillin is an antibiotic that can cure ear infections and other illnesses.
- Fungus is used to make cheese.
- Microscopic: unable to be seen without a microscope
- Digest: break down, convert to energy and nutrients
- Crew: group or team
- Yeast: a type of fungus
- Athlete’s foot: a fungal disease that causes itchiness and redness
Learn More All About Fungi
Understand more about fungus in this video:
A video explaining all about fungi.
Question: How do fungi reproduce?
Answer: Most fungi reproduce through fruiting bodies that release spores. The spores are microscopic bodies that float through the air. When the spores land on food, they start to grow and eat the food.