Found in different shapes and sizes, fungi play an important role in our everyday life. Which among the following is / are correct statements about them?
1. Fungi are not plants since they don’t have chlorophyll
2. All fungi live as either saprophytes or as parasites
Select the correct option from the codes given below:

Answer: [C] Both 1 & 2

Fungus is not a plant since it does not have chlorophyll — a pigment which is responsible for photosynthesis in plants. It is not an animal either, although it is closely related to it. Since they lack chlorophyll they cannot produce food for themselves to live on. So they live in two forms, either as saprophytes or as parasites. Saprophytes grow on dead organic matter (such as wood) and decompose it to obtain food for their growth. The parasitic fungus gets its food from living organisms (either plant or an animal).

Some of the parasitic fungi may cause disease to the host and hence is harmful to them. But some of them are mutualistic. For example, certain species of fungi develop a close relationship with plants and live in their root. These are called mycorrhiza or root nodules. The fungi decompose leaf litter or other animal matter and provide nutrients to the plants. In turn, they get food from the plant on which they live.

This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module