Gaining Nutrients


A. fumigatus colony, Courtesy of Dr. Volk



All fungi are heterotrophs that digest material externally prior to ingestion. In general, fungi release chemicals, called exoenzymes, which digest material. Then, the material is absorbed by hyphae, which have cell walls made of chitin for support. When dead, decaying matter is targeted, this type of nutrition is called saprophytic (Freeman 2005).





A. fumigatus hyphae and conidia, Courtesy of Dr. Volk


Energy uptake of Aspergillus varies, just like habitats, can include cellulose, starches, proteins, fats, amino acids, and other sugars. Scientists have found the species to degrade wood, cotton, wool, feather, dung, and other materials. In the soil habitat, decomposition of organic material such as decaying vegetation and other matter is the source of most necessary nutrients. Once this fungus enters an animal, any tissue type is commonly broken down for nutrients, much to human despise. See the disease section for more information on human disease.   

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