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| Last Updated:: 11/05/2021

Fungi in India









     Fungi are Eucaryotic heterotrophs that lack photosynthetic capacity and gain nutrition by absorption rather than ingestion. They typically form complex nonmotile networks of hyphae within or on the substrata with cell walls composed primarily of chitins and β-glucans, with motile reproductive structures in some groups, mostly nonflagellate, flagella when present always lacking mastigonemes. Cells may be uninucleate or multinucleate and the mycelium may be homokaryotic or heterokaryotic, haploid, dikaryotic or diploid. Reproduction may be sexual, parasexual or asexual. Reproductive structures and propagules are immensely varied and frequently of short duration. They are ubiquitous in terrestrial habitats and are important components of both marine and fresh water ecosystems. They are associated with enormous range of plants, animals and their products in saprobic, mutualistic and parasitic relationships. Around 96,000 species have been described and estimated in the order of 1.5 million species including nonfungal analogues (Hawksworth 2001) making fungi the second most diverse major group of organisms on earth.

     Fungi were recognized as belonging to a separate kingdom from plants in Whittaker’s influential five kingdoms classification of living organisms (Whittaker 1959, 1969). Some groups of organisms traditionally classified within fungi have been recognized as belonging to separate kingdoms.

     The recent changes in classification driven by DNA sequence analyses have led to a series of major changes to the traditional morphology based classifications. The organisms studied by mycologists are now established as polyphyletic and have been referred to at least three different kingdoms namely Chromista (Hyphochytridiomycota, Labyrinthulomycota and Oomycota); Protozoa (Acrasiomycota, Myxomycota and Plasmodiophoromycota) and Fungi (Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Chytridiomycota, Glomeromycota, Microsporidia and Zygomycota). Publication of a major new classification (Hibbett & al. 2007) has necessitated the documentation of fungi and their analogues reported from India.

     About 14,400 species (including fungal analogues) are recorded from India approximately under 45 classes, 120 orders, 345 families and 2660 genera.


List of Family and Genera of Fungi in India