Protists and fungi are the two categories of five kingdom classification by R.H. Whittaker in 1969. The five categories are Monera, Protista, Fungi, Planitia, and Animalia. These belong to the field of zoology. According to the history of evolution, these lower-level animals are the organisms having the simplest systems in their bodies. Some of these are visible, and others are invisible in the human eye. But they exist in the biosphere as the other animals. Both of these are eukaryotes but have other differences among them. So here are few differences between protists and fungi.
Protists vs Fungi
The main difference between the protists and the fungi is the cell structure between them. The protists are unicellular, whereas the fungi are multi-cellular. The protists are invisible in the naked eye, but the fungi are visible in the naked eye. They also adopt different modes of nutrition like protists have nearly all kinds of modes of nutrition, but fungi possess only either saprophytic or heterotrophic mode.
Protists are unicellular organisms. Some of them have protective cell walls. They are mostly autotrophs that are they can prepare their food. These organisms are very small are invisible to the naked human eye. These are observed with the help of a microscope. Some of them use the heterotrophic, saprophytic, or parasitic mode of nutrition to lead life.
Fungi are multi-cellular organisms. All the organisms of this category have cell walls in them, but they are in the absence of cellulose. These animals cannot prepare their food and have to depend on other sources. That is, they are heterotrophs. These organisms can be observed by the human eye. This category has seven types of groups of organisms under the category.
Comparison Table Between Protists and Fungi
|Parameters of comparison||Protists||Fungi|
|Cell size||Microscopic||It can be observed in the naked eye|
|Cell wall||Present in some||Present in all (without cellulose)|
|Mode of nutrition||They are either autotrophs, heterotrophs, saprophytes or parasites.||They are mostly saprophytic, and some of them are also heterotrophic.|
|Example||Green algae, slime moulds, dinoflagellates, euglenoids, amoeba etc.||Mushroom, yeast, Penicillium, Rhizopus, etc.|
What are Protists?
Protists are unicellular organisms. Some of them have protective cell walls. They are mostly autotrophs that are they can prepare their food. But there can be other modes also in some other organism under the same category. Some of them use heterotrophic, saprophytic, or parasitic modes of nutrition to lead life. These organisms are very small are invisible to the naked human eye.
These are observed with the help of a microscope.
Protists can reproduce both sexually and asexually. The asexual mode of reproduction is done via binary fission. The sexual mode of reproduction occurs via the production of gametes.
There are mainly three types of protists that are protozoans, algae, and mould. The protozoans are animal-like protists. They can engulf their food particles and digest to obtain the nutrients. The protozoans can move with the help of flagella and pseudopodia present in them. Algae are mostly unicellular and autotrophic. They are plant-like organisms. They are chlorophyll in their cell through which they can do photosynthesis.
Moulds are mainly fungus-like organisms, multi-cellular eukaryotes. They use the saprophytic mode of nutrition to lead their living. Mostly depend on the dead and decaying leaves. They are a giant amount in the category of protists. Some examples of protists are Dinoflagellets, Euglenoids, etc.
What are Fungi?
Fungi are multi-cellular organisms. All the organisms of this category have cell walls in them, but they are in the absence of cellulose. Their cell wall is made up of chitin and polysaccharides. These animals cannot prepare their food and have to depend on other sources, which is they are heterotrophs. These organisms can be observed by the human eye. This category has seven types of groups of organisms under the category.
Fungi can reproduce both by sexual and asexual mode. The asexual mode of reproduction occurs via pores formation, whereas the sexual mode of reproduction occurs via mating. They mostly adapt to the heterotrophic mode of nutrition. They cannot make their food due to the absence of chlorophyll in them. They also adapt the saprophytic mode of nutrition. That is, they depend on the dead and decaying matters to obtain their required nutrients.
Some fungi also remain in a symbiotic relationship with other organisms or plants to take nutrients. Seven types of fungi are Microsporidia, Ascomycota, Glomeromycota, Basidiomycota, Chitridiomycota, Neocallimastigomycota, and Blastigomycota. Fungi are a very important category of an organism for the environment as they facilitate the process of decaying the dead matter and making t a simpler form. Some examples of fungi are mushrooms, yeasts, Penicillium, Rhizopus, etc.
Main Differences Between Protists and Fungi
- The protists are a mostly unicellular organism, whereas the fungi are multi-cellular organisms
- The protists are microscopic animals that are they are invisible to the naked human eye. On the other hand, the fungi can be observed in naked eyes.
- Some of the protists have cell walls present in them, but all the fungi have cell walls present. Their cell wall is made up of chitin and polysaccharides.
- The protists can be either autotroph, heterotrophs, saprophytes, or parasites. But the fungi are mainly heterotrophs and saprophytes.
- Some examples of protists are dinoflagellates, euglenoids, etc., and some examples of fungi are mushroom, yeast, penicillium, rhizopus, etc.
Both the protists and the fungi are lower-level organisms. They have the simplest mode of living among the other organisms. They are very helpful for the environment. Some fungi are used commercially for the production of different items. For example, fungi called yeast are the most important ingredient in the bread and cake factories. The penicillium is used for the production of medicine etc. The fungi also hold an important role in cleaning the environment by leading their life on dead and decaying matter.
In this way both of them are useful. The main difference is the cell structure between them. Both are eukaryotes but have different cell structures.