Difference Between Protists and Fungi

Main Difference

The main difference between protists and fungi is that the protists are the organisms that have a unicellular organization, whereas the fungi are the organisms that have a multicellular organization.

Protists vs. Fungi

Protists are the organisms that have an organization of unicellular, whereas the fungi are the organisms that have an organization of multicellular. Protists are very small that can only see in a microscope, while fungi are big enough to be detected by the naked eye, and some are also small species. Some protists have a cell wall of plants and fungi-like; on the flip side, fungi have a cell wall containing chitin.

Some protists do not have a cell wall, whereas all fungi have cell walls. Protists have different intercellular organization from fungi. Protists are coenocytes, whereas the fungi are both septate and coenocytes. Protists have cytoplasm that does not contain compartments, whereas the fungi have cytoplasm that may or may not contain compartments.

Protists are mostly moveable, whereas fungi are immoveable. Protists contain cilia and flagella in some species; on the other hand, fungi do not contain such structures. In protists, the number of genomes of mitochondria remains conserved, whereas, in fungi, the number of genomes of mitochondria does not remain conserved. Protists have highly developed osmoregulation, while fungi have underdeveloped osmoregulation.

In protists, the process of nutrient attainment is mixotrophic, whereas, in fungi, the process of nutrient attainment is saprotrophic. In protists, mitochondria always have genome preservation, whereas, in fungi, mitochondria always have genome reduction. The cell membrane of protists is usually variable, while the cell membrane of fungi is usually chitinous.

Comparison Chart

ProtistsFungi
Protists are the organisms that have an organization of unicellular and are prokaryotes.Fungi are the organisms that have an organization of multicellular and are eukaryotes.
Size
Very small that can only see in the microscopeBig enough to be seen with a naked eye.
Cell Membrane
VariableChitinous
Cell Wall
Present in somePresent in all
Intercellular Organization
Do not have compartmentsHave compartments
Nutrients Attainments
MixotrophicSaprotrophic
Osmoregulation
Highly developedDeveloped
Respiration
Aerobic or AnaerobicAerobic
Mitochondria
Genome retentionGenome reduction
Outer Structure
Cilia, flagella, etcDo not have such structures
Mobility
MoveableImmoveable
Septate
CoenocytesSeptate and non-septate

What are Protists?

Protists are the organisms that have an organization of unicellular, and its cells are called prokaryotic cells. Some protists have a cell wall, but this structure is not present in all. It is also of variable structure in protists. It has no intercellular organization of like compartments of cytoplasm.

It also has some outer structures like cilia, flagella that helps the protists to move and slide and capture the food. It has a cell membrane of plant, animal, and fungi-like. The process of nutrients attainments is mixotrophic, and several methods are involved in obtaining the food. The respiration in protists is also quite variable.

It can respire through aerobically and anaerobically. The process of osmoregulation in protists is well-developed. The mitochondria in protists are evolved from the ancestors. These mitochondria also have a genome of retention.

It remains the same as got from the ancestors. The hyphae of fungi-like protists are coenocytes. As protists are prokaryotes, that’s they are not highly developed as eukaryotes and do not have some organelles that are present in eukaryotic cells.

What are Fungi?

Fungi are the organisms that have an organization of multicellular, and its cells are called eukaryotic cells. All the fungus group has a cell wall, and it is made of chitin, a special polysaccharide. It has a different kind of intercellular organization such as compartments of cytoplasm and contains septate that are involved in the continuous flow of materials throughout the body of fungi.

Fungi do not have outer structures like cilia, flagella, etc. that’s why fungi are immoveable. The process nutrient attainment in fungi is variable such as saprotrophic, parasitism, carnivorous, etc. It obtains energy from the dead body with the help of rhizoids and haustoria through which the fungi obtain energy from the living body.

The process of respiration in fungi is not very complicated. It simply respires through aerobically, and anaerobic respiration is not present in fungi. The genome of mitochondria also got reduce in fungi.

Key Differences

  1. Protists have a unicellular organization, whereas the fungi have a multicellular organization.
  2. Protists are very tiny that can only be seen by a simple microscope, while fungi are large enough that can be seen by the human eye.
  3. Some protists have a cell wall like plants, bacteria, and fungi; on the flip side, fungi have a cell wall that is made of chitin.
  4. Some of the protists do not contain a cell wall, whereas all the members of kingdom fungi have cell walls.
  5. Protists have cells that are coenocytes, whereas the fungi have cells that are both septate and non-septate.
  6. Protists do not contain compartments in the cytoplasm, whereas the fungi that may or may not contain compartments in the cytoplasm.
  7. Protists are mostly motile, whereas fungi are immoveable.
  8. Some protists cells have cilia and flagella in its structure; on the other hand, fungi do not contain cilia and flagella in its structure.
  9. In protists, the gene complement of mitochondria remains preserved, whereas, in fungi, the gene complement of mitochondria does not remain preserved.
  10. Protists have advanced osmoregulation; on the other hand, fungi have immature osmoregulation.
  11. In protists, the process of getting the nutrients from soil is mixotrophic, whereas, in fungi, the process of getting the nutrients from soil is saprotrophic.
  12. In protists, mitochondria always have preservation of genome, whereas, in fungi, mitochondria always have a reduction of the genome.
  13. Protists have a cell membrane that is usually varying; on the flip side, fungi have a cell membrane that is made of chitin.

Conclusion

The above discussion concludes that both protists and fungi are the two kingdoms of classification. Protists are prokaryotes and are included in a unicellular organization, whereas the fungi are eukaryotes and are included in a multicellular organization.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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