<microbiology> A general term used to denote a group of eukaryotic protists, including mushrooms, yeasts, rusts, moulds, smuts, etc., which are characterised by the absence of chlorophyll and by the presence of a rigid cell wall composed of chitin, mannans and sometimes cellulose.

They are usually of simple morphological form or show some reversible cellular specialisation, such as the formation of pseudoparenchymatous tissue in the fruiting body of a mushroom. The dimorphic fungi grow, according to environmental conditions, as moulds or yeasts.

(05 Jan 1998)

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