Ganoderma lucidum, like all fungi is a heterotrophic organism.  In most ecological situations, this fungus is seen as a saprophyte.  A saprophyte is an organism that feeds on the organic tissue of a dead organism.  The fact that they are a valuable saprophyte means that they are valuable decomposer for the recycling of nutrients for the other organisms to use.  For G. lucidum, the dead tissue is normally from some sort of tree, which can vary with location.

However, it should be noted that in some cases it is actually a parasite that attacks living trees.  A parasite is a symbiotic relationship where one organism benefits at the cost of another organism.  This type of relationship can also be seen with the American Mistletoe or the Deer Tick The hyphae penetrate the tree at an injured or weakened area.  Given this opportunity, it can cause the tree great harm. 

Like all fungi, G. lucidum digests its food before it ingests it.  This means that digestive exoenzymes are released from the tip of the hyphae to break down the organic material.  Then, after the material has been broken down into simpler molecules, the hyphal strand ingests the food source.  Once absorbed into the hyphae, the food molecules are shipped throughout the rest of the mycelium.

Click on Reproduction to see the life cycle and reproduction of G. lucidum

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