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The key difference between bacteria and fungi is that bacteria is a prokaryotic unicellular organism while fungi is a eukaryotic multicellular organism.
Bacteria vs. Fungi
All the organisms that are found on earth are broadly classified into two main types, i.e., prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Prokaryotes are the primitive type of microorganisms that are single-celled and lack membrane-bounded organelles while eukaryotes that have evolved from prokaryotes have many membrane-bounded organelles and are multicellular. Bacteria are a type of prokaryotic unicellular organisms, so it is devoid of membrane-bounded organelles while fungi is a eukaryotic unicellular or multicellular organism and consist of many membrane-bounded organelles. So, bacteria is without any proper nucleus while fungi have a prominent nucleus. They are cosmopolitan in distribution, i.e., they are found almost everywhere in the world. They may be both, useful and harmful. In this article, we will summarize the comparison between bacteria and fungi.
What is Bacteria?
Bacteria is a unicellular prokaryotic microorganism that was evolved first on the earth about 3.5 billion years ago. They are found almost everywhere. They may also survive in extreme conditions like hot springs, deserts, deep oceans and snow, etc. where many other life forms cannot survive. Many of them also live in or on other organisms as parasites. They can be both autotrophs (that can make their food or heterotrophs (that cannot make their food) and depend on other organisms for energy. Some bacteria are also decomposers. By shape, bacteria are classified into three main types, i.e., spherical (e.g., cocci), spiral (e.g., Spirochetes) and rod-shaped (e.g., Vibrio). A bacterial cell consists of the cell wall, glycocalyx (A layer of glycocalyx around cell wall to protect it and also act as receptor surface), nucleoid, pilus, mesosomes, fimbriae, inclusion/granules, ribosomes, endospore, flagellum and cell membrane, etc. On the basis of gram staining technique, bacteria are classified into gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Gram-positive bacteria are the bacteria that are stained purple while gram-negative bacteria stained pink. Bacteria may be both harmful and beneficial. Beneficial bacteria are used in biotechnology and produce antibiotics etc. Harmful bacteria spread many diseases like tuberculosis, rabies, leprosy, diphtheria, strep throat, leprosy, pertussis, tetanus and cholera, etc. These diseases can be treated by antibiotics, but excess use of these antibiotics make the body resistant against them.
An example of bacteria is Escherichia coli.
What is Fungi?
Fungi is a eukaryotic organism that may be unicellular or multi-cellular, evolved about 900 million years ago and is derived from protists. It is found in a thread like structure known as hypha which is organized to form a thick mass known as mycelium. They are heterotrophs and obtain their food by absorption from the environment so known as absorptive heterotrophs. Most fungi are saprophytes and feed on dead matter. They secret digestive enzymes on the organic matter to digest it and then absorb the food. Some fungi are parasites and predator too. They reproduce by both sexual and asexual method by forming spores, conidia, fragmentation or budding, etc. Fungi are made up of the cell wall, cell membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus, mitochondria, Golgi apparatus, lysosomes, peroxisomes, endoplasmic reticulum and ribosomes, etc. Fungi are also both harmful and useful. Useful fungi are used as food, e.g., mushrooms, in industries for fermentation, e.g. yeast and also to get antibiotics, e.g., penicillin. Harmful fungi spread many diseases like athlete’s foot, aspergillosis, allergic bronchopulmonary, and aspergilloma, etc. Antifungal medicines are used for their treatment.
Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is an example of fungi.
- Bacteria is the most primitive, unicellular organism with a simple type of cell while fungi is an advanced organism with unicellular or multicellular complex cell structure.
- Bacteria are made up of prokaryotic cell whereas fungi are made up of the eukaryotic
- The branch of biology in which we study about bacteria is known as bacteriology whereas the branch of biology in which we study about fungi is known as mycology.
- Bacteria belong to kingdom monera while fungi belong to kingdom Fungi.
- Bacteria are found in three different shapes, e., round, spiral or rod-shaped while fungi vary in shape, but mostly it is found in a thread-like structure called hyphae.
- Mostly bacteria are heterotrophs, but some are autotrophs too while all the fungi are heterotrophs.
- Bacteria are motile and can move through flagella while fungi are nonmotile.
- Bacteria reproduce asexually while fungi reproduce by both sexual and asexual method.
- Bacteria grow best in neutral pH, e., 6.5 to 7.0 but fungi grow best in slightly acidic pH, i.e., 4 to 6.
- Harmful bacteria spread many diseases like tuberculosis, rabies, leprosy, diphtheria, strep throat, leprosy, pertussis, tetanus and cholera, etc while fungi spread diseases like athlete’s foot, aspergillosis, allergic bronchopulmonary, and aspergilloma, etc.
- Antibiotics are used to control bacterial infections while the antifungal medication is used against fungal infections.
- Example of bacteria is Escherichia coli whereas Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is an example of fungi.
From the above discussion, it is concluded that bacteria is a prokaryotic unicellular organism that may be autotroph and heterotroph. They are widespread and may be harmful or beneficial. On the other hand, fungi is a unicellular or multi-cellular eukaryotic organism that is heterotrophic in its mode of nutrition. It is also found everywhere and may be harmful or beneficial. They both have different functions and different cellular makeup.