Phylum Basidiomycota

Basidiomycetes (buh-siD-ee-oh-MIE-SEETS) are often called club fungi because during sexual reproduction, they produce small, clublike reproductive structures called basidia (buh-SID-ee-uh) (singular, basidium). Sexual reproduction in basidiomycetes is shown in Figure 26-5. The spore-bearing structure of basidiomycetes is an aboveground structure called the basidiocarp (buh-SID-ee-oh-KAHRP). Mushrooms are basidiocarps. The basidiocarp consists of a stem called a stalk and a flattened structure known as a cap. On the underside of the cap are rows of gills that radiate out from the center. As shown in step Q, each gill is lined with thousands of dikaryotic (die-KAR-ee-AHT-ik) basidia. Dikaryotic cells contain two nuclei. Step © shows that in each basidium, two nuclei fuse to form a zygote (2n). In step ©, the zygote undergoes meiosis to form four haploid nuclei. These develop into four basidiospores (buh-SID-ee-oh-SPAWRZ), which are released into the air. As shown in step Q, under favorable environmental conditions, basidiospores germinate to produce haploid mycelia that grow underground. In steps 0 and G, when compatible mating types encounter one another, their hyphae fuse and form a basidiocarp, which emerges aboveground.

Materials mushroom, scalpel, hand lens, slides, coverslips, water, microscope

Dissecting a Mushroom

Materials mushroom, scalpel, hand lens, slides, coverslips, water, microscope


1. Before beginning, tell your teacher if you are allergic to fungi. Cut the cap of a mushroom lengthwise.

2. Examine the mushroom with a hand lens. Draw and write down your observations.

3. Make a wet mount of the hyphae. Use a microscope to observe the cell structure of the hyphae.

Analysis What structures did you observe with the hand lens? with the microscope? What is the function of each structure?

figure 26-5

Basidiomycetes usually reproduce sexually by means of a fruiting body, also called a mushroom.

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