General Characteristics of Fungal Spores
- 1. Spores represent microscopic dispersal or survival propagules produced
by most species of fungi:
- 2. Fungal spores vary in size, shape and colour:
- 3. Fungal spores may be unicellular or multicellular:
- For example, conidia produced by Alternaria species
are multicellular. [CLICK
TO VIEW A LIGHT MICROGRAPH ILLUSTRATING CONIDIA OF ALTERNARIA
- 4. Some spores possess a textured or ornamented surface:
- For example, uredospores of Melampsora epita (causal
pathogen of willow rust). [CLICK
TO VIEW A SCANNING ELECTRON MICROGRAPH ILLUSTRATING
UREDOSPORES OF MELAMPSORA EPITA
- 5. The protoplasm of most (not all) spores is surrounded by a rigid wall,
- is often thicker and more multilayered than that of somatic cells or
- may be impregnated with pigments (e.g. melanins) and lipids.
- 6. Spores often contain substantial amounts of nutrient reserves, which
may take the form of ...........:
- 7. They possess a relatively low water content.
- 8. While dormant they exhibit a low rate of metabolic activity.
- 9. They vary in the primary functions they serve, which may include:
- dispersal to a fresh site or host;
- survival at the same site;
- increasing genetic variation.
- 10. They also vary in the methods by which they are formed, released and dispersed.
N.B. Zoospores possess
very few of these general characteristics.
In addition: remember that many
fungi are capable of producing more than one type of spore - each has
its own role to play in the life cycle of the fungus.