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Learn About Fungal Diversity and Evolution with Alexopoulos and Mims Classification of Fungi (1979) - Coursera



- What are the main features of Alexopoulos and Mims classification of fungi (1979)- How to download the pdf of their book H2: Fungi: Definition, Characteristics and Diversity - Define fungi as a kingdom of eukaryotic organisms- Explain the general characteristics of fungi such as cell wall, nutrition, reproduction, etc.- Describe the diversity of fungi in terms of morphology, ecology and phylogeny H2: Classification of Fungi by Alexopoulos and Mims (1979) - Explain the rationale behind their classification based on vegetative and reproductive features- Summarize the three divisions (Gymnomycota, Mastigomycota and Amastigomycota) and their subdivisions, classes and form-classes- Provide examples of each group with common names and scientific names H2: Advantages and Limitations of Alexopoulos and Mims Classification - Discuss the advantages of their classification such as simplicity, consistency and comprehensiveness- Discuss the limitations of their classification such as lack of molecular data, polyphyly and artificiality H2: Comparison with Other Classifications of Fungi - Compare their classification with other classical classifications such as Whittaker (1969) and Ainsworth (1973)- Compare their classification with modern phylogenetic classifications based on molecular data such as Hibbett et al. (2007) and Kirk et al. (2008) H2: Conclusion - Summarize the main points of the article- Emphasize the importance and relevance of Alexopoulos and Mims classification for fungal biology- Provide some suggestions for further reading or research H2: FAQs - List five frequently asked questions about the topic with brief answers # Article with HTML Formatting Introduction




Fungi are a diverse group of organisms that belong to the kingdom Myceteae or Fungi in the superkingdom Eukaryonta. They are found in almost every habitat on earth, from soil to water, from plants to animals, from humans to insects. Fungi play important roles in nature as decomposers, symbionts, pathogens, mutualists and producers of various substances. They also have many applications in biotechnology, medicine, agriculture, industry and food.




Classification Of Fungi Alexopoulos And Mims 1979 Pdf Download


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Because of their diversity and complexity, fungi have been classified in different ways by different mycologists over time. One of the most influential and widely used classifications was proposed by C.J. Alexopoulos and C.W. Mims in their book Introductory Mycology published in 1979. Their classification was based on the vegetative and reproductive features of fungi, such as cell wall composition, nutrition mode, spore type, sexual cycle and life history. They divided the kingdom Myceteae into three divisions: Gymnomycota (slime molds), Mastigomycota (flagellated fungi) and Amastigomycota (non-flagellated fungi). Each division was further subdivided into classes, form-classes and orders.


In this article, we will explore the main features of Alexopoulos and Mims classification of fungi (1979), its advantages and limitations, and how it compares with other classifications of fungi. We will also provide a link to download the pdf version of their book for those who are interested in learning more about fungal biology.


Fungi: Definition, Characteristics and Diversity




Fungi are defined as eukaryotic organisms that lack chlorophyll and have a cell wall composed mainly of chitin or other complex carbohydrates. They obtain their nutrients by absorbing organic matter from their environment through their cell walls or specialized structures called hyphae. Hyphae are microscopic filaments that form the body or thallus of most fungi. Some fungi are unicellular or yeast-like, while others are multicellular or mycelial. Fungi can reproduce asexually by spores, budding, fragmentation or other means, or sexually by fusion of compatible nuclei or cells followed by meiosis and spore formation. Fungi have a haploid-dominant life cycle, which means that most of their life stages are haploid (one set of chromosomes) except for the diploid (two sets of chromosomes) zygote that undergoes meiosis to produce haploid spores.


Fungi are extremely diverse in terms of morphology, ecology and phylogeny. They can be microscopic or macroscopic, unicellular or multicellular, simple or complex, aquatic or terrestrial, saprobic or parasitic, beneficial or harmful. They can form various associations with other organisms, such as lichens (with algae or cyanobacteria), mycorrhizae (with plants), endophytes (inside plants), ectoparasites (on animals), endoparasites (inside animals) and mutualists (with insects). They can also produce various substances that have biological activity, such as antibiotics, toxins, enzymes, pigments and hormones. According to the latest estimates, there are about 2.2 to 3.8 million species of fungi on earth, of which only about 120,000 have been described so far.


Classification of Fungi by Alexopoulos and Mims (1979)




Alexopoulos and Mims (1979) classified fungi and slime molds into the kingdom Myceteae under the superkingdom Eukaryonta. They based their classification on the vegetative and reproductive features of fungi, such as cell wall composition, nutrition mode, spore type, sexual cycle and life history. They divided the kingdom Myceteae into three divisions: Gymnomycota (slime molds), Mastigomycota (flagellated fungi) and Amastigomycota (non-flagellated fungi). Each division was further subdivided into classes, form-classes and orders. The general overview of their classification is as follows:



Division


Subdivision


Class


Form-class


Gymnomycota


Acrasiogymnomycotina


Acrasiomycetes


-


Plasmodiogymnomycotina


ProtosteliomycetesMyxomycetes


-


Mastigomycota


Haplomastigomycotina


ChytridiomycetesHyphochytridiomycetesPlasmodiophoromycetes


-


Diplomastigomycotina


Oomycetes


-


Amastigomycota


Zygomycotina


ZygomycetesTrichomycetes


-


Ascomycotina


Ascomycetes


-


Basidiomycotina


Basidiomycetes


-


Deuteromycotina


-


Here are some examples of each group with common names and scientific names:



  • Gymnomycota: slime molds, cellular slime molds (e.g. Dictyostelium discoideum), plasmodial slime molds (e.g. Physarum polycephalum)



  • Mastigomycota: flagellated fungi, chytrids (e.g. Allomyces macrogynus), hyphochytrids (e.g. Hyphochytrium catenoides), plasmodiophorids (e.g. Plasmodiophora brassicae, the cause of clubroot disease in crucifers), oomycetes or water molds (e.g. Phytophthora infestans, the cause of late blight disease in potatoes and tomatoes)



  • Amastigomycota: non-flagellated fungi, zygomycetes or bread molds (e.g. Rhizopus stolonifer), trichomycetes or gut fungi (e.g. Harpella moniliformis, a symbiont of aquatic insects), ascomycetes or sac fungi (e.g. Aspergillus niger, a producer of citric acid), basidiomycetes or club fungi (e.g. Agaricus bisporus, the common mushroom), deuteromycetes or imperfect fungi (e.g. Penicillium chrysogenum, a producer of penicillin)



Advantages and Limitations of Alexopoulos and Mims Classification




Alexopoulos and Mims classification of fungi (1979) has several advantages and limitations that need to be considered when using it for fungal biology. Some of the advantages are:



  • It is simple and consistent, using only a few criteria to classify fungi into three major divisions and their subdivisions.



  • It is comprehensive, covering all known groups of fungi and slime molds at that time.



  • It is based on observable and measurable features of fungi, such as cell wall composition, nutrition mode, spore type, sexual cycle and life history.



  • It reflects the evolutionary relationships among some groups of fungi, such as the zygomycetes, ascomycetes and basidiomycetes.



  • It is widely used and accepted by many mycologists and students as a standard reference for fungal classification.



Some of the limitations are:



  • It does not include molecular data, such as DNA sequences, that have become available since 1979 and have revolutionized the phylogeny and taxonomy of fungi.



  • It does not account for the polyphyly or multiple origins of some groups of fungi, such as the oomycetes and deuteromycetes, that are not closely related to each other or to other fungi.



  • It does not reflect the natural or monophyletic groups of fungi, such as the glomeromycetes and microsporidia, that have been discovered or reclassified based on molecular data.



  • It does not incorporate the nomenclatural changes or revisions that have been made since 1979 according to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) or the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN).



  • It does not address the diversity and complexity of fungal species and their interactions with other organisms.



Comparison with Other Classifications of Fungi




Alexopoulos and Mims classification of fungi (1979) can be compared with other classifications of fungi that have been proposed before or after it. Some of the most notable ones are:



  • Whittaker (1969): He classified all living organisms into five kingdoms: Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae and Animalia. He placed fungi in a separate kingdom from plants and animals based on their lack of chlorophyll and their absorptive nutrition. He divided the kingdom Fungi into four phyla: Myxomycota, Oomycota, Zygomycota and Eumycota. The Eumycota included the ascomycetes, basidiomycetes and deuteromycetes.



  • Ainsworth (1973): He classified fungi into the kingdom Fungi under the superkingdom Eukaryotae. He divided the kingdom Fungi into two subkingdoms: Eumycotina and Mastigomycotina. The Eumycotina included the ascomycetes, basidiomycetes and deuteromycetes. The Mastigomycotina included the oomycetes, chytrids, hyphochytrids and plasmodiophorids.



  • Hibbett et al. (2007): They classified fungi into the kingdom Fungi under the domain Eukarya. They divided the kingdom Fungi into eight phyla: Chytridiomycota, Blastocladiomycota, Neocallimastigomycota, Glomeromycota, Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Microsporidia and Zygomycota. The Zygomycota included several subphyla that were not closely related to each other, such as Mucoromycotina, Zoopagomycotina and Entomophthoromycotina.



  • Kirk et al. (2008): They classified fungi into the kingdom Fungi under the domain Eukarya. They divided the kingdom Fungi into seven phyla: Chytridiomycota, Blastocladiomycota, Neocallimastigomycota, Glomeromycota, Ascomycota, Basidiomycota and Microsporidia. They recognized the polyphyly of the Zygomycota and split it into several phyla, such as Mucoromycota, Zoopagomycota and Entomophthoromycota.



As can be seen from these comparisons, Alexopoulos and Mims classification of fungi (1979) is similar to Whittaker (1969) and Ainsworth (1973) in terms of dividing fungi into three major divisions based on flagellation and cell wall composition. However, it differs from them in terms of including slime molds in the kingdom Myceteae and using different names for some groups of fungi. It is also different from Hibbett et al. (2007) and Kirk et al. (2008) in terms of not incorporating molecular data and not recognizing the natural or monophyletic groups of fungi that have been revealed by DNA analysis.


Conclusion




In conclusion, Alexopoulos and Mims classification of fungi (1979) is one of the most influential and widely used classifications of fungi that was based on the vegetative and reproductive features of fungi. It divided the kingdom Myceteae into three divisions: Gymnomycota (slime molds), Mastigomycota (flagellated fungi) and Amastigomycota (non-flagellated fungi). It has several advantages such as simplicity, consistency and comprehensiveness, but also some limitations such as lack of molecular data, polyphyly and artificiality. It can be compared with other classifications of fungi that have been proposed before or after it, such as Whittaker (1969), Ainsworth (1973), Hibbett et al. (2007) and Kirk et al. (2008).


Alexopoulos and Mims classification of fungi (1979) is still relevant and useful for fungal biology today, as it provides a framework for understanding the diversity and complexity of fungi. However, it should be updated and revised according to the latest scientific discoveries and nomenclatural changes that have occurred since 1979. It should also be supplemented with molecular data and phylogenetic analysis that can reveal the evolutionary relationships among fungi and other organisms.


If you are interested in learning more about Alexopoulos and Mims classification of fungi (1979) or fungal biology in general, you can download the pdf version of their book Introductory Mycology from this link. You can also check out some other books or websites that provide more information on fungal classification, such as:



  • The Fungi by C.P. Kurtzman and J.W. Fell (2010)



  • Fungal Biology by J.W. Deacon (2005)



  • Ainsworth & Bisby's Dictionary of the Fungi by P.M. Kirk et al. (2008)



online database of fungal names and information


  • Index Fungorum: an online catalogue of fungal names and synonyms



  • Fungal Taxonomy and Nomenclature: a website that provides updates and resources on fungal taxonomy and nomenclature



FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about the topic of this article with brief answers:



  • What is the difference between fungi and slime molds?Answer: Fungi and slime molds are both eukaryotic organisms that lack chlorophyll and have a cell wall. However, fungi have a cell wall composed mainly of chitin or other complex carbohydrates, while slime molds have a cell wall composed mainly of cellulose or other simple carbohydrates. Fungi obtain their nutrients by absorbing organic matter from their environment, while slime molds obtain their nutrients by engulfing organic matter by phagocytosis. Fungi reproduce by spores, while slime molds reproduce by spores or fragmentation.



  • What is the difference between flagellated and non-flagellated fungi?Answer: Flagellated fungi are fungi that produce motile cells or zoospores that have one or more flagella (whip-like appendages) for locomotion. Non-flagellated fungi are fungi that do not produce motile cells or zoospores, but rely on other means of dispersal such as wind, water or animals. Flagellated fungi are usually aquatic or soil-inhabiting, while non-flagellated fungi are usually terrestrial or plant-associated.



  • What is the difference between ascomycetes and basidiomycetes?Answer: Ascomycetes and basidiomycetes are two major groups of non-flagellated fungi that produce sexual spores in specialized structures. Ascomycetes produce sexual spores called ascospores in sac-like cells called asci, which are usually arranged in fruiting bodies called ascocarps. Basidiomycetes produce sexual spores called basidiospores on club-shaped cells called basidia, which are usually arranged in fruiting bodies called basidiocarps.



  • What is the difference between deuteromycetes and imperfect fungi?Answer: Deuteromycetes and imperfect fungi are two terms that refer to the same group of non-flagellated fungi that do not have a known sexual cycle or stage. They reproduce only by asexual spores called conidia or other means. They are also called anamorphic fungi or mitosporic fungi. They are not a natural or monophyletic group, but a collection of diverse fungi that belong to different lineages.



  • What is the difference between polyphyletic and monophyletic groups?Answer: Polyphyletic groups are groups of organisms that do not share a common ancestor or origin, but have similar characteristics due to convergent evolution or other reasons. Monophyletic groups are groups of organisms that share a common ancestor or origin, and include all the descendants of that ancestor. Polyphyletic groups are not valid in terms of phylogeny or taxonomy, while monophyletic groups are valid and natural.



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