Tip growth

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Tip growth is an extreme form of polarised growth of living cells that results in an elongated cylindrical cell morphology with a rounded tip at which the growth activity takes place. Tip growth occurs in algae (e.g., Acetabularia acetabulum ), fungi (hyphae) and plants (e.g. root hairs and pollen tubes).

Tip growth is a process that has many similarities in diverse walled cells such as pollen tubes, root hairs, and hyphae.

Fungal tip growth and hyphal tropisms

Fungal hyphae extend continuously at their extreme tips, where enzymes are released into the environment and where new wall materials are synthesised. The rate of tip extension can be extremely rapid - up to 40 micrometres per minute. It is supported by the continuous movement of materials into the tip from older regions of the hyphae. So, in effect, a fungal hypha is a continuously moving mass of protoplasm in a continuously extending tube. This unique mode of growth - apical growth - is the hallmark of fungi, and it accounts for much of their environmental and economic significance. [1]

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Ascomycota Division or phylum of fungi

Ascomycota is a phylum of the kingdom Fungi that, together with the Basidiomycota, forms the subkingdom Dikarya. Its members are commonly known as the sac fungi or ascomycetes. It is the largest phylum of Fungi, with over 64,000 species. The defining feature of this fungal group is the "ascus", a microscopic sexual structure in which nonmotile spores, called ascospores, are formed. However, some species of the Ascomycota are asexual, meaning that they do not have a sexual cycle and thus do not form asci or ascospores. Familiar examples of sac fungi include morels, truffles, brewers' and bakers' yeast, dead man's fingers, and cup fungi. The fungal symbionts in the majority of lichens such as Cladonia belong to the Ascomycota.

Mold Wooly, dust-like fungal structure or substance

A mold or mould is one of the structures certain fungi can form. The dust-like, colored appearance of molds is due to the formation of spores containing fungal secondary metabolites. The spores are the dispersal units of the fungi. Not all fungi form molds. Some fungi form mushrooms; others grow as single cells and are called microfungi.

Hypha Long, filamentous structure in fungi and Actinobacteria

A hypha is a long, branching, filamentous structure of a fungus, oomycete, or actinobacterium. In most fungi, hyphae are the main mode of vegetative growth, and are collectively called a mycelium.

Mycorrhiza Fungus-plant symbioic association

A mycorrhiza is a symbiotic association between a fungus and a plant. The term mycorrhiza refers to the role of the fungus in the plant's rhizosphere, its root system. Mycorrhizae play important roles in plant nutrition, soil biology, and soil chemistry.

Zygomycota Former division or phylum of the kingdom Fungi

Zygomycota, or zygote fungi, is a former division or phylum of the kingdom Fungi. The members are now part of two phyla the Mucoromycota and Zoopagomycota. Approximately 1060 species are known. They are mostly terrestrial in habitat, living in soil or on decaying plant or animal material. Some are parasites of plants, insects, and small animals, while others form symbiotic relationships with plants. Zygomycete hyphae may be coenocytic, forming septa only where gametes are formed or to wall off dead hyphae. Zygomycota is no longer recognised as it was not believed to be truly monophyletic.

Germination Process by which an organism grows from a spore or seed

Germination is the process by which an organism grows from a seed or spore. The term is applied to the sprouting of a seedling from a seed of an angiosperm or gymnosperm, the growth of a sporeling from a spore, such as the spores of fungi, ferns, bacteria, and the growth of the pollen tube from the pollen grain of a seed plant.

Pollen tube Tubular structure to conduct male gametes of plants to the female gametes

A pollen tube is a tubular structure produced by the male gametophyte of seed plants when it germinates. Pollen tube elongation is an integral stage in the plant life cycle. The pollen tube acts as a conduit to transport the male gamete cells from the pollen grain—either from the stigma to the ovules at the base of the pistil or directly through ovule tissue in some gymnosperms. In maize, this single cell can grow longer than 12 inches (30 cm) to traverse the length of the pistil.

Arbuscular mycorrhiza Symbiotic penetrative association between a fungus and the roots of a vascular plant

An arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) is a type of mycorrhiza in which the symbiont fungus penetrates the cortical cells of the roots of a vascular plant forming arbuscules.

Root hair Part of plant root

Root hair, or absorbent hairs, are outgrowths of epidermal cells, specialized cells at the tip of a plant root. They are lateral extensions of a single cell and are only rarely branched. They are found in the region of maturation, of the root. Root hair cells improve plant water absorption by increasing root surface area to volume ratio which allows the root hair cell to take in more water. The large vacuole inside root hair cells makes this intake much more efficient. Root hairs are also important for nutrient uptake as they are main interface between plants and mycorrhizal fungi.

Chemotropism is defined as the growth of organisms navigated by chemical stimulus from outside of the organism. It has been observed in bacteria, plants and fungi. A chemical gradient can influence the growth of the organism in a positive or negative way. Positive growth is characterized by growing towards a stimulus and negative growth is growing away from the stimulus.

Glomeromycota Phylum of fungi

Glomeromycota are one of eight currently recognized divisions within the kingdom Fungi, with approximately 230 described species. Members of the Glomeromycota form arbuscular mycorrhizas (AMs) with the thalli of bryophytes and the roots of vascular land plants. Not all species have been shown to form AMs, and one, Geosiphon pyriformis, is known not to do so. Instead, it forms an endocytobiotic association with Nostoc cyanobacteria. The majority of evidence shows that the Glomeromycota are dependent on land plants for carbon and energy, but there is recent circumstantial evidence that some species may be able to lead an independent existence. The arbuscular mycorrhizal species are terrestrial and widely distributed in soils worldwide where they form symbioses with the roots of the majority of plant species (>80%). They can also be found in wetlands, including salt-marshes, and associated with epiphytic plants.

Turgor pressure is the force within the cell that pushes the plasma membrane against the cell wall.

Sclerotium Mycelial mass

A sclerotium, is a compact mass of hardened fungal mycelium containing food reserves. One role of sclerotia is to survive environmental extremes. In some higher fungi such as ergot, sclerotia become detached and remain dormant until favorable growth conditions return. Sclerotia initially were mistaken for individual organisms and described as separate species until Louis René Tulasne proved in 1853 that sclerotia are only a stage in the life cycle of some fungi. Further investigation showed that this stage appears in many fungi belonging to many diverse groups. Sclerotia are important in the understanding of the life cycle and reproduction of fungi, as a food source, as medicine, and in agricultural blight management.

<i>Eremothecium gossypii</i> Species of fungus

Eremothecium gossypii (also known as Ashbya gossypii) is a filamentous fungus or mold closely related to yeast, but growing exclusively in a filamentous way. It was originally isolated from cotton as a pathogen causing stigmatomycosis by Ashby and Nowell in 1926. This disease affects the development of hair cells in cotton bolls and can be transmitted to citrus fruits, which thereupon dry out and collapse (dry rot disease). In the first part of the 20th century, E. gossypii and two other fungi causing stigmatomycosis (Eremothecium coryli, Aureobasidium pullulans) made it virtually impossible to grow cotton in certain regions of the subtropics, causing severe economical losses. Control of the spore-transmitting insects - cotton stainer (Dysdercus suturellus) and Antestiopsis (antestia bugs) - permitted full eradication of infections. E. gossypii was recognized as a natural overproducer of riboflavin (vitamin B2), which protects its spores against ultraviolet light. This made it an interesting organism for industries, where genetically modified strains are still used to produce this vitamin.

Mycelial cord

Mycelial cords are linear aggregations of parallel-oriented hyphae. The mature cords are composed of wide, empty vessel hyphae surrounded by narrower sheathing hyphae. Cords may look similar to plant roots, and also frequently have similar functions; hence they are also called rhizomorphs. As well as growing underground or on the surface of trees and other plants, some fungi make mycelial cords which hang in the air from vegetation.

Spitzenkörper Organizing center for fungal hyphae

The Spitzenkörper is a structure found in fungal hyphae that is the organizing center for hyphal growth and morphogenesis. It consists of many small vesicles and is present in growing hyphal tips, during spore germination, and where branch formation occurs. Its position in the hyphal tip correlates with the direction of hyphal growth. The Spitzenkörper is a part of the endomembrane system in fungi.

This page provides a glossary of plant morphology. Botanists and other biologists who study plant morphology use a number of different terms to classify and identify plant organs and parts that can be observed using no more than a handheld magnifying lens. This page provides help in understanding the numerous other pages describing plants by their various taxa. The accompanying page—Plant morphology—provides an overview of the science of the external form of plants. There is also an alphabetical list: Glossary of botanical terms. In contrast, this page deals with botanical terms in a systematic manner, with some illustrations, and organized by plant anatomy and function in plant physiology.

This glossary of botanical terms is a list of definitions of terms and concepts relevant to botany and plants in general. Terms of plant morphology are included here as well as at the more specific Glossary of plant morphology and Glossary of leaf morphology. For other related terms, see Glossary of phytopathology and List of Latin and Greek words commonly used in systematic names.

Ectomycorrhiza Non-penetrative symbiotic association between a fungus and the roots of a vascular plant

An ectomycorrhiza is a form of symbiotic relationship that occurs between a fungal symbiont, or mycobiont, and the roots of various plant species. The mycobiont is often from the phyla Basidiomycota and Ascomycota, and more rarely from the Zygomycota. Ectomycorrhizas form on the roots of around 2% of plant species, usually woody plants, including species from the birch, dipterocarp, myrtle, beech, willow, pine and rose families. Research on ectomycorrhizas is increasingly important in areas such as ecosystem management and restoration, forestry and agriculture.

Dark septate endophytes (DSE) are a group of endophytic fungi characterized by their morphology of melanized, septate, hyphae. This group is likely paraphyletic, and contain conidial as well as sterile fungi that colonize roots intracellularly or intercellularly. Very little is known about the number of fungal taxa within this group, but all are in the Ascomycota. They are found in over 600 plant species and across 114 families of angiosperms and gymnosperms and co-occur with other types of mycorrhizal fungi. They have a wide global distribution and can be more abundant in stressed environments. Much of their taxonomy, physiology, and ecology are unknown.


  1. "Apical growth". Archived from the original on 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2011-09-05.