Difference Between Bacteria and Fungi

Main Difference – Bacteria vs Fungi

Bacteria and fungi are two types of microscopic organisms. The main difference between bacteria and fungi is that bacteria are unicellular prokaryotic organisms whereas fungi are multicellular eukaryotic organisms. Both bacteria and fungi contain DNA as their genetic material. The genetic material of bacteria is organized in the cytoplasm. But in fungi, it is organized inside the nucleus. The cell wall of bacteria is made up of peptidoglycans. The cell wall of fungi is made up of chitin. Both bacteria and fungi are heterotrophs that use external organic compounds as food.

Key Areas Covered

1. What are Bacteria
      – Definition, Features, Significance
2. What are Fungi
      – Definition, Features, Significance
3. What are the Similarities Between Bacteria and Fungi
      – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Bacteria and Fungi
      – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Bacteria, Cell Wall, DNA, Eukaryotes, Fungi, Microorganisms, Nucleus, Prokaryotes

Difference Between Bacteria and Fungi - Comparison Summary

What are Bacteria

Bacteria are unicellular prokaryotic microorganisms with a cell wall made up of peptidoglycans. However, they do not have organelles or an organized nucleus. They contain a rigid cell wall, which is made up of peptidoglycans. Inside the cell wall, the cell membrane is present. The cytoplasm of bacteria contains 70 S ribosomes, a nucleoid with DNA, and plasmids. The genetic material of bacteria is organized into a single, double-stranded chromosome. Some bacteria contain flagella for movement. The three main basic shapes of bacteria are coccus, bacillus, and spirillum. The structure of a bacterial cell is shown in figure 1.

Main Difference - Bacteria vs Fungi

Figure 1: A bacterium

Bacteria mainly reproduce through asexual reproduction. Binary fission is the main asexual reproduction method of bacteria. Conjugation is the sexual reproduction method of bacteria, but sexual reproduction is rare. Bacteria may cause a variety of diseases in animals such as pneumonia, tetanus, TB, cholera, food poisoning, and sore throats. Antibiotics can be used to treat bacterial diseases.

What are Fungi

Fungi refers to unicellular or multicellular microorganisms, decomposing and absorbing organic material on which they grow. The cell wall of fungi is made up of chitin. Most fungi are multicellular, making the fungal hyphae. A mass of hyphae is called the mycelium. Yeast is a unicellular fungi. The genetic material of fungi is organized into the nucleus. Fungi contain membrane-bound organelles such as mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, and Golgi apparatus. The lysosomes of fungi contain digestive enzymes which are secreted on the organic material by the fungus. Therefore, the digestion of food occurs outside of the body of fungi. The nutrients are absorbed by the fungi through their cell wall. The structure of a fungus is shown in figure 2.

Difference Between Bacteria and Fungi

Figure 2: Penicilium
1 – Hypa, 2 – conidiophore, 3 – phialide, 4 – conida, 5 – septa

Reproduction of fungi occurs by budding, fragmentation, and production of sexual or asexual spores. Fungi may also cause diseases in animals as well as plants. Antifungal agents can be used to treat fungal diseases.

Similarities Between Bacteria and Fungi

  • Both bacteria and fungi are microscopic organisms.
  • The genetic material of both bacteria and fungi is DNA.
  • Both bacteria and fungi are heterotrophs.
  • Both bacteria and fungi can be saprophytes or parasites.
  • Both bacteria and fungi are composed of a cell wall, which is made up of polysaccharides.
  • Both bacteria and fungi require warmth, moisture, and nutrients for growth.
  • Both bacteria and fungi can be either useful or harmful.

Difference Between Bacteria and Fungi

Definition

Bacteria: Bacteria refers to unicellular prokaryotic microorganisms with a cell wall made up of peptidoglycans but, lacking organelles and an organized nucleus.

Fungi: Fungi refers to unicellular or multicellular microorganisms, decomposing and absorbing organic material on which they grow.

Type

Bacteria: Bacteria are prokaryotes.

Fungi: Fungi are eukaryotes.

Unicellular/Multicellular

Bacteria: Bacteria are unicellular organisms.

Fungi: Most of the fungi are multicellular organisms.

Size

Bacteria: The size of bacteria is 0.5-5.0 μm.

Fungi: The size of fungi is 2-10 μm.

pH

Bacteria: The favorable pH for the bacterial growth is 6.5-7.0.

Fungi: The favorable pH for the fungal growth is 4-6.

Common Morphologies

Bacteria: Spirella, coccus, and bacillus are the common morphologies of bacteria.

Fungi: Hypha and yeast are the common morphologies of fungi.

Motility

Bacteria: Certain bacteria use flagella to move.

Fungi: Fungi are immobile organisms.

Cell Wall

Bacteria: Bacterial cell wall is made up of peptidoglycans.

Fungi: Fungal cell wall is made up of chitin.

Nucleus

Bacteria: Bacterial genetic material is localized in the nucleoid of the cytoplasm.

Fungi: Fungal genetic material is localized in the nucleus.

Membrane-bound Organelles

Bacteria: Bacteria do not contain membrane-bound organelles inside the cell.

Fungi: Fungi contain membrane-bound organelles such as mitochondria, Endoplasmic reticulum, and Golgi apparatus.

Ribosomes

Bacteria: Bacteria contain 70S ribosomes.

Fungi: Fungi contain 80S ribosomes.

Reproduction

Bacteria: Binary fission is the asexual reproduction method of bacteria.

Fungi: Fungi reproduce through both sexual and asexual spores.

Transmission

Bacteria: The bacterial transmission occurs through contact, body fluids, food, water, insects or air.

Fungi: The fungal transmission occurs through spores.

Diseases

Bacteria: Pneumonia, tetanus, TB, cholera, food poisoning, and sore throats can be caused by bacteria.

Fungi: Candidiasis, ringworm, and different infections can be caused by fungi.

Uses

Bacteria: Bacteria are used in the production of antibiotics and other useful chemicals.

Fungi: Fungi are used in the production of beer, bread, and antibiotics.

Conclusion

Bacteria and fungi are two types of microorganisms that live as saprophytes. Bacteria are unicellular prokaryotes whereas fungi are unicellular or multicellular eukaryotes. The main difference between bacteria and fungi is the organization of the cells of each type of organisms.

Reference:

1. Rogers, Kara, and Robert J. Kadner. “Bacteria.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 24 Apr. 2017, Available here.
2. “Introduction to the Fungi.” Introduction to the Fungi, Available here.

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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