How do mushrooms get their food?
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Q:

How do mushrooms get their food?

A:

Quick Answer

Mushrooms are the visible, above-ground extensions of a much larger underground network of fungal tissue that absorbs nutrients directly from the surrounding soil. The exterior surface of a fungus is analogous to the interior surface of an animal's stomach. It secretes digestive enzymes and absorbs the resulting chemical soup directly.

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Full Answer

By the time a mushroom emerges above ground, the fungus has usually been feeding in place for some time. Fungi send out specialized tendrils, or hyphae, into the soil and plants around them to expose a maximum of surface area to the surrounding environment. These hyphae then secrete the necessary proteins directly onto the edible matter. These proteins then do the work of breaking down plant and animal tissues chemically until the nutrients locked away in their bodies are liberated. This leaves the food supply partially liquefied and oozing over the surface of the fungus. Exterior cells of the fungus can then directly absorb the desired nutrients without the need for a distinct digestive system. Generally, this work is only done by the nonreproductive components of a fungus. The mushroom's ultimate goal is not to eat but to release spores that can spread the fungus far and wide to begin the process anew in a different location.

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Related Questions

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    How do fungi get food?

    A:

    Fungi obtain food by breaking down and consuming organic material. Most fungi decompose dead organisms, while some are mutualistic or parasitic with other organisms. Fungi store energy in a similar manner to animals.

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    How do you identify mushrooms?

    A:

    A person can identify wild mushrooms by examining their caps, stems, gills and spores. He can also take note of the area, condition and characteristics in which the mushrooms grow, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. Before eating any wild mushroom, it is important to make a positive identification to ensure it is edible. If a 100-percent positive identification is not possible, do not eat the wild mushroom.

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    Where can I pick wild mushrooms?

    A:

    Each spring the morel mushroom, the most popular and prolific wild mushroom in the United States, crops up across the country along the edges of forests. Field & Stream reports that the mushrooms tend to grow most often near elm, oak, aspen and ash trees, particularly along slopes facing north.

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  • Q:

    What is the scientific classification of mushrooms?

    A:

    All mushrooms belong to the Fungi kingdom, however their phylum, class, family, and genus vary according to the mushroom type. Oyster mushrooms, meadow mushrooms and button mushrooms all have different scientific classifications.

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