Difference Between Hyphae and Mycelium

Hyphae vs Mycelium

Fungi are eukaryotic heterotrophs that have cell walls made up of chitin. Because of this characteristic features, they are classified in a separate Kingdom called Kingdom Fungi. In this Kingdom, there are more than 7000 species that have been identified so far; there may be more to find. Similar to animals, fungal species possess digestive enzyme. However, unlike the animals, they digest food outside their cells. Fungi are considered as one of the widely distributed group of organisms that have the ability to make diseases in both animals and plants. In addition, fungi are widely used in many industrial applications such as brewing, fermentation etc. They can be either single-cell or multicellular. Molds and mushrooms are most familiar multicellular fungi, whereas yeast is the single cell fungus. Many classification systems of fungi have been proposed to date. However, most of these systems are based on some common features including, morphology and structure of the fungal species, morphology of the reproductive systems, nature of the life cycle, and physiological, biochemical and cytological characters. The main fungal groups are zygomycetes, deuteromycetes, ascomycetes and basidiomycetes. The hyphae and mycelium are two terms used to describe the structure of multicellular fungal species.

What are Hyphae?

Fungal cells are arranged end to end to form threadlike filaments called hyphae (singular, hypha). When fungi grow, new cells are added to the tip of the hyphae. The cells of hyphae have thin cell walls made up of chitin. Structure and morphology of hyphae vary with the group of fungi. Some fungal groups do possess cross-walls, or septa between cells of their hyphae, whereas some do not. The pores of cross-walls, however, allow materials to flow among the cells, and it enables the sharing of water and nutrients absorbed from one part of hyphae with other regions of the fungal body. Yeast, being single cell fungi, can form pseudohyphae by staying attached with budding cells. However, these pseudohyphae do not possess parallel cell walls, unlike the true hyphae.

What is Mycelium?

Mycelium is the mass of hyphae that forms the body of a multicellular fungus. Different groups of fungi have different mycelium. Mycelium of fungi enables either sexual or asexual reproduction of fungi. When multicellular fungi are classified based on their morphology and structure of mycelium. For example, ascomycetes, deuteromycetes, and basidiomycetes have branched septate mycelium, whereas zygomycetes possesses branched aseptate mycelium.

What is the difference between Hyphae and Mycelium?

• Hyphae are threadlike filaments made up of fungal cells, whereas mycelium is the mass of hyphae that forms the fungal body.