How Do Fungi Eat?


Quick Answer

Most fungi eat by releasing enzymes that break down surrounding nutrients, which are then absorbed into their bodies. In order to have a consistent food source, fungi grows on or in food. Some fungi species are able to hunt protozoa and nematodes.

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Full Answer

Fungi are either hunters or grazers. Some species hunt by producing a sticky substance that traps passing prey for consumption. Another species traps prey by growing circular snares with hyphae, which squeeze targets traveling through the ring. After the creature is snared, the fungi grows new hyphae, which burrow into the prey's body and absorb its fluids.

Some fungi species have a symbiotic relationship with plants. The plants provide fungi with a safe place to live, as well as necessary nutrients. In turn, the fungi provide the plant with crucial nutrients, such as phosphorous, and also help the plant to process metals and other various substances.

Fungi absorb nutrients through their cell walls. The nutrients come from dead or alive organic matter from either plants or animals. They are only capable of absorbing basic nutrients that are easily dissolved, such as sugar. If the nutrients are too complex to be absorbed, they use digestive enzymes to decompose the nutrients into a simple form that can be digested.

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