Fungi vs Parasites
Both fungi and parasites cause various diseases to humans. Not only humans, but parasites cause diseases to other animals and plants, as well. Parasites are the organisms which are adapted to a mode of life called parasitism, which is categorized as a type of symbiotic relationship between two different organisms. Certain fungi species, some insects, protozoan, and helminthes are mainly considered as parasites. In parasitism, the parasites are associated with living tissues or cells of another organism called host, and live at the expense of their host without destroying it. Thus, parasitism gives benefit only to parasite while causing diseases to its host. Parasites cannot survive without their hosts, and hence they are well adapted to the living conditions of hosts.
Parasite is an organism that lives in or on another different organism called hosts, and obtains nutrient and shelter from the host without destroying it. Parasites are well adapted to their form of life called parasitism, which allows the parasite to take benefit from the host while causing injury to hosts. This mode of life is one of the most common on the planet and is associated with all the major taxa, starting from small unicellular organisms to complex vertebrates. Parasites are eukaryotic, unicellular, or multicellular organisms. However, most of them are motile.
The study of parasites is referred to as Parasitology. The basic characteristics of parasites are the presence of simple to complex life cycle, often involve two hosts, presence of sexual and asexual reproduction, and perform all biological functions such as reproduction, digestion, respiration, and excretion. Based on the morphology of organisms, there are two main classes of parasites; (a) protozoa, which includes all the unicellular organisms such as bacteria, virus etc., and (b) metazoan, which contains all the multicellular parasites such as parasitic worms (flukes, tapeworm and roundworm), some fungi species, and arthropods (ticks, lice etc.). Furthermore, parasites can be also classified depending on the place they live in their host, namely; endoparasites; who are adapted to live inside the body of their hosts, and ectoparasites, who lives on the body of their hosts. (Read more: Difference Between Endoparasites and Ectoparasites)
All the fungi are classified under the Kingdom Fungi. They live all over the plant and are considered as an important form of life due to their ecological and economic roles. Most importantly they contribute to the cycle of nutrients by decomposition of dead organic materials. In addition, they also make symbiotic relationship with plants, which in turn essential for plant growth. Furthermore, fungi are also important as parasites and pathogens, which cause diseases to both animals and plants. For example, in humans, fungi cause diseases such as ringworm, athlete’s foot etc. while, in plants, they cause rusts, smuts, stem rot etc.
Fungi are more chemically and genetically closer to animals than other organisms, and thus the treatment of fungal diseases are more difficult when compared to other human parasites. Moreover, some fungi species provide benefits to humans. For example, yeasts, Penicillium, mushrooms are used in the bakery and fermentation industry as a food source and to make antibiotics, respectively. Generally, the fungal body is referred to as thallus, which is of either single cell or a thread like structure called hyphae.
What is the difference between Fungi and Parasites?
• Some fungi are considered as parasites.
• Fungi belong to a single Kingdom called Fungi, whereas parasites belong to several Kingdoms including Bacteria, Protozoa, Fungi and Animalia.
• All the parasites cause injuries or diseases to their hosts, whereas only few fungi species cause diseases to human and plants.
• Unlike the parasites, certain fungi species have commercial values (ex: yeast, mushrooms etc.).