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What Do Fungi Feed On?

Fungi are unable to move in the same way that animals do and cannot produce their own food. Someone recently asked me what fungi feed on, so I wanted to put together a short article to answer them.

Fungi get their nourishment from a variety of sources, including both plants and animals. Many fungi are parasitic and will attack plants. There are thousands of plant diseases caused by fungi.

Some fungi live near the roots of trees, receiving their nourishment from the live roots. Underneath the ground, the fungi grow tiny filaments called hyphae. These form into a tight tangle, which is known as the mycelium. The hyphae grow around the tree roots, sucking the nutrition out.

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Some fungi can also penetrate the tree roots. This causes a fungus root called a mycorrhiza. This combination is not parasitic as the roots receive nutrients and water from the fungi while providing food to the root.

Most fungi receive their nutrition from the remains of plants and animals. Fungi are an essential part of many habitats as they break down and decompose the dead plant material by using the hyphae.

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