What is the Difference Between Ascomycota and Deuteromycota

The key difference between Ascomycota and Deuteromycota is that Ascomycota is a phylum of fungi that shows both asexual and sexual reproduction, while Deuteromycota is a phylum of fungi that shows only asexual reproduction but not sexual reproduction.

The Kingdom fungi is classified into various forms. The formal classification of fungi consists of the groups: Chytridiomycota, Zygomycota, Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. This classification is based on the way fungi sexually reproduce, the shape of sporangia, the internal structure of sporangia, etc. Ascomycota and Deuteromycota are two taxonomic groups belonging to kingdom fungi.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Ascomycota  
3. What is Deuteromycota
4. Similarities – Ascomycota and Deuteromycota
5. Ascomycota vs Deuteromycota in Tabular Form
6. Summary

What is Ascomycota?

Ascomycota is a phylum of fungi that shows both asexual and sexual reproduction. Together with the phylum Basidiomycota, it forms sub-kingdom dikarya. The members of this taxonomic group are commonly known as sac fungi or ascomycetes. It is the largest phylum of kingdom fungi. It generally contains over 64,000 species. The peculiar feature of this fungal group is a structure called “ascus”. Ascus is a microscopic sexual structure that produces non-motile spores called ascospores. However, some species of Ascomycota are asexual. This means they do not have a sexual reproduction cycle and thus do not produce ascospores. The familiar members of this taxonomic group include morels, truffles, brewer’s yeast, baker’s yeast, xylaria, and cup fungi.

Figure 01: Ascomycota

Ascomycota is a monophyletic group. Ascomycete species are particularly very useful to humans. They are sources of medicinally important compounds such as antibiotics. They are also very helpful in fermenting bread, alcoholic beverages, and cheese. Penicillium species are very popular examples of ascomycetes that perform these functions. Moreover, many ascomycete species are pathogens in both animals and plants. Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger are two common ascomycetes that cause human infections. Ascomycetes that infect plants include apple scab, rice blast, ergot fungi, black not, and powdery mildews. Furthermore, several other species of ascomycetes are biologically important model organisms, such as Neurospora crassa, yeast, and Aspergillus species.

What is Deuteromycota?

Deuteromycota is a phylum of fungi that shows only asexual reproduction. Therefore, they do not show sexual reproduction. This phylum is also known as imperfect fungi. The fungi in this phylum do not fit into the formally established taxonomic classification. This is because the morphological characteristics such as sexual reproduction used for this classification are absent in Deuteromycota. Deuteromycota shows only asexual reproduction (vegetative phase). Hence, these fungi produce their spores asexually through sporogenesis.

Figure 02: Deuteromycota

There are about 25,000 species classified in the Deuteromycota taxonomic group. Many Basidiomycota or Ascomycota anamorphs are included in this division. The fungi that cause athlete’s foot and yeast infection are imperfect fungi. Some fungi in this division also produce penicillin antibiotics. Moreover, the fungi that provide the distinctive characteristics of Rouquefort and Camembert cheese are also members of Deuteromycota.

What are the Similarities Between Ascomycota and Deuteromycota?

  • Ascomycota and Deuteromycota are two taxonomic groups of kingdom fungi.
  • Both taxonomic groups contain eukaryotic species.
  • These taxonomic groups show asexual reproduction.
  • They contain species that can produce antibiotics.
  • Both taxonomic groups contain species that do cause human and plant diseases.

What is the Difference Between Ascomycota and Deuteromycota?

Ascomycota is a phylum of fungi that shows both asexual and sexual reproduction, while Deuteromycota is a phylum of fungi that shows only asexual reproduction but not sexual reproduction. So, this is the key difference between Ascomycota and Deuteromycota. Furthermore, Ascomycota is a taxonomic group of perfect fungi, while Deuteromycota is a taxonomic group of imperfect fungi.

The following infographic tabulates the difference between Ascomycota and Deuteromycota for side by side comparison.

Summary – Ascomycota vs Deuteromycota

The kingdom fungi is classified into various forms using different characters. Ascomycota and Deuteromycota are two divisions of kingdom fungi. Ascomycota is a phylum of fungi that shows both asexual and sexual reproduction, while Deuteromycota is a phylum of fungi that shows only asexual reproduction but not sexual reproduction. Thus, this is the difference between Ascomycota and Deuteromycota.