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VIRUSES.....Page 6 FUNGI..... Page 9


Members of the kingdom Monera are microscopic organisms that include the bacteria and cyanobacteria. Both the bacteria and cyanobacteria are prokaryotes. Prokaryotes lack a nucleus, and they have no organelles except ribosomes. The hereditary material exists as a single loop of doublestranded DNA in a nuclear region, or nucleoid. Members of the kingdom multiply by an asexual process called binary fission. No evidence of mitosis is apparent in the reproductive process. Bacteria live in virtually all the environments on earth, including the soil, water, and air. They have existed for approximately 3 billion years, and they have evolved into every conceivable ecological niche on, above, and below the surface of the earth.

Characteristics of bacteria
Most bacterial species are heterotrophic, that is, they acquire their food from organic matter. The largest numbers of bacteria are saprobic, meaning that they feed on dead or decaying organic matter. A few bacterial species are parasitic. These bacteria live within host organisms and cause disease. Certain bacteria are autotrophic, that is, they synthesize their own foods. Such bacteria often engage in the process of photosynthesis. They use pigments dissolved in their cytoplasm for the photosynthetic reactions. Two groups of photosynthetic bacteria are the green sulfur bacteria and the purple bacteria. The pigments in these bacteria resemble plant pigments. Some autotrophic bacteria are chemosynthetic. These bacteria use chemical reactions as a source of energy and synthesize their own foods using this energy. Bacteria may live at a variety of temperatures. Bacteria living at very cold temperatures are psychrophilic, while those species living at human body temperatures are said to be mesophilic. Bacteria living at very high temperatures are thermophilic. Bacteria that require oxygen for their metabolism are referred to as aerobic, while species that thrive in an oxygenfree environment are said to be anaerobic. Some bacteria can live with or without air; they are described as facultative. Most bacterial species live in a neutral pH environment (about pH 7), but some bacteria can live in acidic environments (such as in yogurt and sour cream) and others can live in alkaline environments. Certain bacteria are known to live at the pH of 2 found in the human stomach.


Structure of Bacteria:

Capsule - Some species of bacteria have a third protective covering, a capsule made up of polysaccharides (complex carbohydrates). Capsules play a number of roles, but the most important are to keep the bacterium from drying out and to protect it from phagocytosis (engulfing) by larger microorganisms. Cell Envelope - The cell envelope is made up of two to three layers: the interior cytoplasmic membrane, the cell wall, and -- in some species of bacteria -- an outer capsule. Cell Wall - Each bacterium is enclosed by a rigid cell wall composed of peptidoglycan, a protein-sugar (polysaccharide) molecule. The wall gives the cell its shape and surrounds the cytoplasmic membrane, protecting it from the environment. It also helps to anchor appendages like the pili and flagella, which originate in the cytoplasm membrane and protrude through the wall to the outside. Cytoplasm - The cytoplasm, or protoplasm, of bacterial cells is where the functions for cell growth, metabolism, and replication are carried out. It is a gel-like matrix composed of water, enzymes, nutrients, wastes, and gases and contains cell structures such as ribosomes, a chromosome, and plasmids. Cytoplasmic Membrane - A layer of phospholipids and proteins, called the cytoplasmic membrane, encloses the interior of the bacterium, regulating the flow of materials in and out of the cell.


Flagella - Flagella (singular, flagellum) are hairlike structures that provide a means of locomotion for those bacteria that have them. They can be found at either or both ends of a bacterium or all over its surface. Nucleoid - The nucleoid is a region of cytoplasm where the chromosomal DNA is located. It is not a membrane bound nucleus, but simply an area of the cytoplasm where the strands of DNA are found. Most bacteria have a single, circular chromosome that is responsible for replication, although a few species do have two or more. Smaller circular auxiliary DNA strands, called plasmids, are also found in the cytoplasm. Pili - Many species of bacteria have pili (singular, pilus), small hairlike projections emerging from the outside cell surface. These outgrowths assist the bacteria in attaching to other cells and surfaces, such as teeth, intestines, and rocks. Without pili, many disease-causing bacteria lose their ability to infect because they're unable to attach to host tissue. Specialized pili are used for conjugation, during which two bacteria exchange fragments of plasmid DNA. Ribosomes - Ribosomes are microscopic "factories" found in all cells, including bacteria. They translate the genetic code from the molecular language of nucleic acid to that of amino acidsthe building blocks of proteins


Technically, viruses are not members of the Monera kingdom. They are considered here because, like the bacteria, they are microscopic and cause human diseases. Viruses are acellular particles that lack the properties of living things but have the ability to replicate inside living cells. They have no energy metabolism, they do not grow, they produce no waste products, they do not respond to stimuli, and they do not reproduce independently. In the view of biologists, they are probably not alive.
General Characteristics of Viruses:

Viruses are a cellular, non-cytoplasmic infectious agents. They are smaller than bacteria, and this can pass through bacteriological filter. Viruses are transmissible from disease to healthy organisms. All viruses are obligate parasites and can multiply only within the living host cells. Viruses contain only a single type of nucleic acid either DNA or RNA. Viruses are host specific that they infect only a single species and definite cells of the host organisms. Viruses are effective in very small doses. They are highly resistant to germicides and extremes of physical conditions.

Generalised Structure of Viruses:

Because most viruses are extremely well adapted to their host organism, virus structure varies greatly. However, there are some general structural characteristics that all viruses share.


(i) Shape and size: The shape varies considerable. They may be spherical or golf ball-like, rod-shaped, tadpolelike, helical or polyhedral. Plant viruses are smaller than bacteria. (ii) Chemical structure and function: Viruses have a very simple structure. The core of the viruses is made upon of nucleic acid, which is surrounded by a protein coat called capsid. The nucleic acid always contains only a single kind of nucleic acid i.e. either DNA or RNA. The infectious property of a virus is due to its nucleic acid. Capsid or the protein coats: It is made up of many identical protein sub-units called capsomeres. The capsomeres are composed of either one or several type of proteins. Capsomeres are arranged in a very symmetrical manner and give a specific shape to a particular virus. The host specificity of virus is due to proteins of the capsid. Biological position of viruses: Viruses lack a cytoplasmic membrane and they do not have the basic component of a cell. They can only replicate inside the host cell. Outside the host cell, they are non-living. Thus, viruses show characters of both living and non-living. (I) Non-living Characters of Viruses: Following characters of viruses assign them as non-living: They can be crystallized. Outside the cell, they behave like inert chemicals. They do not show growth, development, nutrition, reproduction, etc. They can be precipitated. (II) Living characters of viruses: They multiply within host cells. They possess genetic material, either DNA or RNA. There are definite races or strains. They exhibit mutations. Because of the above reasons, viruses form unique bridge between living and non-living things.


A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and moulds ,as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria. One major difference is that fungal cells have cell walls that contain chitin, unlike the cell walls of plants, which contain cellulose. These and other differences show that the fungi form a single group of related organisms, named the Eumycota (true fungi or Eumycetes), that share a common ancestor (a monophyletic group).

General Characteristics of Fungi Achlorophyllous: Fungi cannot make their own food like plants. They are heterotrophs and depend upon other organism for their carbon source. Heterotrophs can further be divided into the following categories: a. Parasites: Organisms that derives their nutrition from the protoplasm of another organism b. Saprobes: Organisms that obtains their carbon source from the by-products of organisms or dead organisms. However, if the opportunity arises, some saprobes may become parasitic. Such organisms are said to be facultative parasites. c. Symbiosis: In the strict sense, this term refers to the habitual "living together" of different species. As such, there are a number of different categories of relationships that may fit under this term. However, we will define it in its most common usage: "The intimate association of two dissimilar organisms in a mutually beneficial relationship, e.g. lichens and mycorrhizae." This type of symbiosis is specifically referred to as a mutualistic symbiosis. Eukaryotic: Fungi have membrane bound organelles, i.e. nucleus, mitochondrion, E.R., etc. Once upon a time filamentous bacteria called Actinomycetes were classified with fungi, but this is no longer the case. The assimilative stage of the fungal body, i.e. mycelium or yeast, has a cell wall. In the strict sense organisms classified as fungi have cell walls composed primarily of chitin. However, we will be also be covering "fungi" that do not have chitin in their cell walls. Fungi have a common nutritional mode: Absorption: The transport of food from their substrate into their cell walls. Either sexual or asexual reproduction or both may occur by spores. Spores and/or gametes can be motile or not. However, in the strict sense as fungi are currently defined, only those organisms that produce nonmotile spores and gametes are classified as fungi. Nevertheless, we will be going over organisms that have motile spores, called zoospores, and motile gametes.



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Structure of fungus:

The main body of most fungi is made up of fine, branching, usually colourless threads called hyphae. Each fungus will have vast numbers of these hyphae, all intertwining to make up a tangled web called the mycelium. The mycelium is generally too fine to be seen by the naked eye, except where the hyphae are very closely packed together. The picture on the left was taken through a microscope. The hyphae are magnified 100 times life size.

The microscopic structures of a septate fungus showing asexually producedconidia that leave the fungus and germinate to produce a new mycelium.

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The main identifying characteristic of fungi is the makeup of their cell walls. Many contain a nitrogenous substance known as "chitin," which is not found in the cell walls of plants, but can be found in the outer shells of some crabs and mollusks. Most fungi are multicellular (made up of many cells), with the exception of the yeasts. The cells make up a network of branching tubes known as "hyphae," and a mass of hyphae is called a "mycelium." The insides of the cells look a little different than bacterial cells. First of all, the genetic material is gathered together and enclosed by a membrane in what is called the "nucleus." Also, there are other structures called "organelles" in the cell that help the cell to function, such as mitochondria (converts energy), endoplasmic reticulum (ER) (makes complex proteins), and other organelles. The Golgi apparatus forms many types of proteins and enzymes. Lysosomes contain enzymes and help digest nutrients. Centrioles are necessary for proper division of the cell. Both bacteria and fungi have ribosomes, but those of the bacteria are smaller in size and also reproduce differently.

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