The key difference between septate and aseptate hyphae is that septate hyphae have septa or cross walls that divide hyphae into distinct cells while aseptate hyphae lack septa.
Hyphae are long filament or thread-like structures of fungi. Hyphae represent the vegetative structure of fungi. Mycelium is the collection of hyphae of a fungus. Fungal hyphae consist of cells surrounded by a cell wall made from chitin. In order to separate cells within the hyphae, there are perforated cross-walls called septa. But, septa are not present in hyphae of all fungi. Therefore, based on the presence and absence of septa, hyphae have two types: septate hyphae and aseptate hyphae.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Septate Hyphae
3. What are Aseptate Hyphae
4. Similarities Between Septate and Aseptate Hyphae
5. Side by Side Comparison – Septate vs Aseptate Hyphae in Tabular Form
What are Septate Hyphae?
Septate hyphae are fungal mycelia that contain cross walls or septa inside the hyphae. Due to the presence of septa, there are separate nucleated cells in the septate hyphae. Septa are perforated. Hence, molecules, organelles and cytoplasms move between cellular compartments of septate hyphae.
Many fungi of basidiomycetes and ascomycetes are septate fungi. Especially, Aspergillus is one fungal genus that constitutes of septate fungi.
What are Aseptate Hyphae?
Aseptate hyphae, also called Coenocytic hyphae, are the fungal mycelia that lack septa. Hence, partitions or distinct cells are not present in aseptate hyphae. Due to the absence of cross walls, there are many nuclei together in aseptate hyphae. Thus, aseptate hyphae are generally multinucleated.
Primitive fungi mostly possess aseptate hyphae. Zygomycetes fungi are aseptate fungi. Furthermore, Mucor and Pythium are two more genera of aseptate fungi.
What are the Similarities Between Septate and Aseptate Hyphae?
- Both septate and aseptate hyphae are seen in fungi.
- They have cell walls made up of chitin.
- They are branched long structures.
- Moreover, they are nucleated structures.
- Within them, there are organelles and cytoplasms.
What is the Difference Between Septate and Aseptate Hyphae?
Septate hyphae consist of septa between cellular compartments while aseptate hyphae lack septa or cross walls. So, this is the key difference between septate and aseptate hyphae. Furthermore, septate hyphae are an advanced form of hyphae which is at low risk of damaging the entire fungus upon damage to a hypha while aseptate hyphae are a form of primitive hyphae that is at a higher risk of damaging the entire fungus upon damage to a hypha. Therefore, this is also a difference between septate and aseptate hyphae.
Moreover, a further difference between septate and aseptate hyphae is that the fungi belonging to the classes Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes are mainly septate fungi while the fungi belonging to class Zygomycetes are aseptate fungi.
Summary – Septate vs Aseptate Hyphae
Hyphae are the vegetative structures or building blocks of fungi. They collectively form the mycelium of a fungus. Septate hyphae and aseptate hyphae are two types of hyphae based on the presence and absence of cross walls called septa. Septate hyphae have septa while aseptate hyphae lack septa. Hence, septate hyphae consist of cellular compartments or distinct cells, while aseptate hyphae lack partitions or distinct cells. Aspergillus is a good example of septate fungus while Mucor is a good example for aseptate fungus. Therefore, this is the summary of the difference between septate and aseptate hyphae.
1. “Septate hyphae of the fungus Alternaria sp” By Tashkoskip – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “No septate hyphae, oogonia and antheridia of the pathogen Pythium debaryanum” By Tashkoskip – Own work, (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia