Shroom Glossary

Nan's Nook : Archives : Misc Tek & Questions : FAQ : Shroom Glossary

Also See: Original PF Tek : P. Cubensis Growth Parameters : Simple Cubie Tek

Abort; Abhort: A mushroom that for some odd reason ceases to grow; never reaches maturity. Aborts can be of varying sizes. See Pinning

Additives: Usually a nitrogen source, additives should be used with caution as they are prone to failure.

Agar: A product derived from seaweed and valued for its gelatinizing properties. Commonly used to grow out mushroom cultures. Agar for Dummies

Alien Tek: Chariots of Fire???

Amanita muscaria: A non-Cubie Shroom


Apprentice: A talented student of the Order, Cleric

Archives: What this document is all about

Asbestos Scare: The reason Vermiculite is so hard to find

Axenic: Not contaminated; Gnotobiotic: Said esp. of a medium devoid of all living organisms except those of a single species

Ayahuasca: See Botanicals

Bags: Sterilizable plastic bags usually equipped with a filter patch and used to grow out spawn.

Baking Soda:

Bat Guano: See Additive

Birdseed: See Substrate

Birthing: Removing a cake from it's jar after 100% colonization

Black Lights:

Blood Meal: See Additive 

Blue Honey: An method of storing shrooms in honey.

Blue Shrooms & Cakes: Things are blue... But they are not in honey...

BRF: Abbreviation for brown rice flour.

Brown Rice Flour: Ground Brown Rice

Botanicals: Non-shroom enthenogens

Bufo Toads: Reptile with DMT containing Venom Glands

Bulk Tek: Tek for making bulk batches of PF substrate   

Busted!!!!!!: What not to do.... What to do...

Cake: Usually a reference to a P.F. cake. A P.F. cake is a "cake" made from Brown Rice Powder or "flour", Vermiculite, and Water. Mushroom Spores are Injected into this "cake" and the mycelium is grown out in this medium.

CaCO3: Calcium Carbonate, Lime

CaCl2: Calcium Chloride, Damp-Rid, Damp-Gone, Damp B Gone, Damp Away, certain Ice Melts: See Desiccant

CaSO4: Calcium Sulfate, Drierite: See Desiccant

Cap: The top part of a mushroom. Often conical or saucer-shaped, at least in the varieties generally discussed round here

Carmelization: What happens when you overheat Liquid Culture

Casing: A layer of water retentive materials applied to a substrate to encourage and enhance fruitbody production.

Chronic: Afflicted, like the rest of us, and his Invitro Tek

Clean Room: A room (typically a bathroom) with a low dust and contam count. Get the rubber gloves and rags

Cloning: Propagating tissue without sexual reproduction. Used to breed true, high cropping, strains.

Cobweb Mold: Common name for Dactylium, a mold that is commonly seen on the casing soil or parisitizing the mushroom. It is cobweb-like in appearance and first shows up in small scattered patches and then quickly runs over the entire surface of the casing soil. It then overwhelms any and all mushrooms in it's path.   See: Cobweb Mold - Fight Back!!!

Coir: A stiff coarse fiber from the outer husk of a coconut.

Cold Shock: The practice of lowering the temperature of a PF Cake or a Cased Bed to promote Pinning.

Colonize: To establish a colony in.

Colony: A circumscribed mass of microorganisms usually growing in or on a solid medium.

Compost: Decayed organic matter/manure.

Condensation: Happens inside of growing jars.

Contam, Contaminant: Something that contaminates. Undesirable Mold, Yeast, or Bacteria.

Culture: To grow out living material in a prepared nutrient media, such as Agar.

Damp rid: Calcium Chloride, CaCl2: See Desiccant

Dehydrator: Usually refers to a warm/hot air appliance used to dry food. Heat should be avoided when drying mushrooms.

Desiccant: A water absorbing chemical salt, usually calcium or silica gel based, used to dry shrooms.

Desiccator: Sealed container with a permeable barrier or grid. Desiccant is placed under the shrooms and fruits are dried to cracker crispness ready for packing/storage.

Dextrose: A simple sugar used in a 4% solution to germinate spores and grow out cloned cells for inoculation. It is used in the food and brewing industry.

Distilled Water: Water that is purified by boiling the water into steam and cooling the steam back into liquid water. Distilled water has no disolved impurities or salts of any kind. It is pure water.

Dirty Prints: Dirty spore prints

Dosage: What people do with shrooms


Double-End Casing: Setting a cake on a jar lid of vermiculite and then putting a few tablespoons of vermiculite on top. Wet down.

Drip Shield: Usually a piece of plexi-glass that is used to partition off a terrarium diagonally. The benefit of the drip shield is two-fold. The top side shields your cakes from water spray when hand misting, and the angle of the bottom side keeps condensation from forming into drops of water on the surface above your cakes where they could land on them and possiby damage the mycelium.

Drying: How shrooms are preserved.

Dung: The excrement of an herbivore... (this is the only dung that we are concerned with)

Dunk Tek: A tek where fully colonized substrate material (a cake usually) is submerged in either water or a suitable nutrient rich broth for 6 to 24 hours. The dunk serves to rehydrate the mycelium, and in the case of nutrient rich broths, to add nutrition as well.

Eating Cakes:


Fattie or Fatass: Slang. Often times when growing on P.F. cakes you will encounter a mushroom or two that grows much larger than the others. This friends, is a Fatass.

Fibrous: Composed of tough stringy tissue.

50/50: Casing of 50% Vermiculite + 50% Peat with lime additives to stabilize the pH.

Flat Cakes: Mycopornographer Eatyualive shows how it's done

Flies: Harpys on cased beds

Flow Hood: A fan powered and HEPA filtered device that produces a positive pressure of contam free air. The air moves across the workspace allowing for open sterile work without the hassle and inconvience of a Glovebox. A big ticket item that can be done very cheaply if you scrounge. You need a good HEPA filter and stack of coarser filters ahead of it.

Flush: The collective formation and development of mushrooms within a short period of time, often occuring in a rythmic manner.

Foil Covers: Squares of foil wrapped over the top of jars being Steam Sterilized.

Fruitbody, Fruiting Body: A mushroom. The part of the mushroom that grows above ground. The sexual reproductive body of the mushroom plant. Fruiting Problems : How Long Does It Take?

Gills: The tiny segments on the underside of the cap. This is where the spores come from.

Glovebox: Just click already...

Grain: See Substrate

Grafting: The union of two plants usually, in this case we are talking about grafting slow growing cacti (Peyote) onto faster growing columnar cacti such as San Pedro. This forces the Peyote to grow at a vastly accelerated rate.

Green Mold: Trich, Contam

Grow Chamber: See Terrarium

Gypsum: An additive used to loosen and lighten substrate and casings.

H2O2: 3% Hydrogen Peroxide from the drug store.

Harvesting: What you do with shrooms when the veils break.

HBWR: Hawaiian Baby Wood Rose

HEPA Filter: See Flow Hood

Honey Tek: Liquid Culture

Hongus Tek: Good beginner casing tek

Humidifier Tek: A method of plumbing a cool mist or ultrasonic humidifier to provide air and moisture to fruiting mushrooms

Hydrated Lime: An additive used to buffer the P.H. in peat based casing mixes.

Hygrometer: An instrument for measuring Humidity

Hyphae: Individual cells of Mycelium.

Hyphal knot: The beginnings of a pin, a small knot of mycellium.

Inoculating: The process of introducing sterile spores or tissue samples into a sterile culture.

Incubation: The process of gently warming a culture to a steady temperature and humidity to promote rapid growth.

IR Tek: Inner Resevoir Tek, a method of introducing water into a cake through a hole, or resevoir. Not to be confused with Straw Tek.

Isopropyl: A volatile, flammable form of alcohol. More comnmonly know as "rubbing alcohol". Used mostly to kill microorganisms in sterilization proceedures.

Invitro: A Latin word meaning "in glass", it is usually used in reference to a variation of the P.F Tek. With Invitro Tek there is no "birthday", the fruits are allowed to grow in the jar.

Jars: The container in which you pack your Substrate.

Kalyx Tek: A very comprehensive Cubie Tek
Karna: Faithful member of the Brotherhood

Karo Tek: 4% sugar liquid culture solution made with Distilled or RO Water and what else... Corn Syrup.

Legal & Security: Legal & Internet Privacy info.

Lids: Covers for jars.

Light: Mushrooms need Light

Lime: Calcium Carbonate, health food store, pickling lime, brew supply. Best if low in magnesium.

Liquid Culture: A technique of germinating spores and growing out cloned mycelium for use as inoculant. Typically a simple 4% sugar solution such as Dextrose, Corn Syrup, Maltose, or Honey is used.

Longevity: Long term storage of Pure Cultures and biological specimens.

LSA: Lysergic Acid Amide, a precursor to LSD-25, but a powerful organic hallucinogen on it's own.

Macerate: The process of chopping, shredding, or finely dividing a tissue sample for the purpose of inoculation. Usually done on a sterile plate with an exacto, a drop of water may be added. Tissue may be scooped with the knife, or sucked in a sterile dropper/syringe/pipette.

Magic Mushroom: Any of a number of species of fungi containing the alkaloids psilocybin and/or psilocin. Common species are the 'Liberty Cap' (Psilocybe Semilanceata) and Psilocybe Cubensis (also called Stropharia Cubensis). There are dozens of others.

Maltose: A simple sugar used in a 4% solution to germinate spores and grow out cloned cells for inoculation.

Manure Water: See Additive

Matting: A condition occurring in the casing layer caused by overwatering in which the mycelium forms a dense, dead layer of cells on the casing's surface. See Overlay.

Millet's Tek:

Misc Teks & Questions: The place I stuck many things I could not remember to put in here. Lots of fun!

Misting: I never have anything to say here. I always post this link

Mescaline: The Duesenberg of Drugs

Methanol: A colorless, toxic, flammable liquid. It is used as a solvent to extract pure psilocybin\psilocin from mushroom tissue.

Morning Glories: Natural source of Lysergic Acid Amides

Multispore: Refers to an inoculation of spores into the culture where multiple germinations and matings occurs.

Mushroom: A fleshy fungus that erects a body of tissue in which sexual spores are produced and from which they are distributed.... Ahhh, what release is Mycoporno.

Mushroom Documents: Menu of more in depth reading.

Mycelium: The portion of the mushroom that grows underground. Plants have roots; mushrooms have mycelium. Mycelium networks can be huge. The largest living thing in the world is a single underground mycelium complex.
Mycophile: A person who likes mushrooms. Mycoporn

Neglect Tek: It is a proven fact that shrooms only grow when you don't look at them

9er Tek: 9 is just one shy of a perfect 10

Non-Cubie Shrooms: Pans & non-cubensis Psilocybes mostly.

OGBD: Old Gray Bovine Droppings

Organic: Any product consisting of, or derived from, a living thing that has been processed without the use of any chemical fertilizer, pesticides, or drugs

Opium: Comes from Poppy heads after they flower.

Oss & Oeric: Pseudonym for the brothers McKenna, Terrance & Dennis, who wrote one of the earliest complete cubie teks published.  Yes, we have a scan of an original copy on file

OT: Old Timer, Deity

Overlay: A condition of the casing layer where mycelium has been allowed to completely cover the surface. Overlay is caused by is caused by: prolonged vegetative growth temperatures, high CO2, excessive humidity, and insufficient water. Once Overlaid water runs off the casing

Oven Tek: The process whereby one attempts to use a hot oven as a Flow Hood

Oyster Shell: Pet, feed, or lawn & garden store carry/can get these. You want ground or crushed shells

Ozone: O3, an unstable form of Oxygen gas produced by the interaction of normal Oxygen, O2, and an ionizing energy source, typically high-voltage or UV light. O3 is a sanitizing agent.

Pans: Panoleus species of shrooms

Pasteurization: A process by which bulk materials are partially sterilized by contact with live steam, hot water or dry heat at temperatures between 140- 160 degrees F

Perlite: Perlite is a bright white, porus volcanic glass that looks like small white gravel. A very lightweight mineral, often found next to the vermiculite in gardening stores. It has millions of microscopic pores, which when it gets damp, allow it to 'breathe' lots of water into the air, making it humid. Mushrooms like humidity when they're fruiting. It is used in terrarium humidification because of it's ability to "wick" moisture into the air.
Please take care around this material- it is expanded glass, crumbles easily, getting glass dust into the air, and you don't want to breathe that. Perlite's good stuff

Peroxidated Agar: Agar made with H2O2 for the purpose of retarding contams.

Petri Dish: See Plates

Peyote: See Mescaline

PF: Psilocybe Fanaticus. The original spore syringe provider. The originator of the PF-TEK, the basis for a lot of growing techniques 

Phototropic: Grows toward Light

Pie Pan Casing: Easy as pie

Pin, Primordia, Pinning: The first recognizable but undifferentiated mass of hyphae that develops into a mushroom fruitbody. Synonymous with "Pinhead", Aborted Pinheads resemble Joey Ramone.

Plate: A petri dish of Agar inoculated with hydrated mushroom spores or cloned mycelia. See Agar back in the A's...

Polyfil: A polyester fiber that resembles synthetic cotton. Found at fabric stores, WalMart, arts & craft stores, Franks (they still around?), flea markets, garage sales, inside old quilts and pillows...

Pressure Cooker: PC, Autoclave... Pressure Steam Sterilizer. Kitchen canning boiler with locking lid. The contents (jars & plates usually) are heated with live steam killing all contams. PC's operate at 250*F @ 15 psi steam so handle with care and read the directions and safety warnings!

Projects: Fish Tank Heater, custom aquarium lids, fruiting chambers, good Tek.

Psilocybin, Psilocin: An hallucinogenic organic compound found in some mushrooms.

Quarts: Quart jars are used for larger scale Grain and Invitro Teks.

Ramsey Seal: A tek for contam sealing grain filled jars.

Rhizomorphic: A word used to describe the strand or cord-like characteristics of desireable mycelium sectors.

Rice: See Substrate

Rice Cake: Many of the growing methods involve making a 'cake' of rice flour, vermiculite and water, and injecting it with mushroom spores. Not a rice cake like you'd buy in a supermarket!

Recipes: What concoctions can be made with shrooms? Shroom Tea of course... Blue Jello? Blue Honey?

Relic: Member of the Brotherhood. A Cleric

RO Water: Reverse Osmosis processed Water

Rust: Forms on jar lids, generally harmless

Rye: See Substrate :)

Salvia: Tropical Herb

Sanitizing: Technique, usually a chemical solution wipe, for killing contams on smooth surfaces

San Pedro: A Mescaline containing cactus

Set, Setting, and Dosage: Where you are, what you're doing/feeling/thinking and how much mushroom you have taken. By the time you've read the FAQs, and grown a batch of your own, you'll probably have a good idea of how much mushroom you'll need to get where you want to go. Recommended settings are: anywhere natural with as few people as possible (the woods, the beach, a park, a nature reserve); anywhere you know you'll have privacy for the duration. If you're living with your parents, you probably don't want them walking in on you while you're curled up in a corner, giggling happily at the wallpaper.

Sclerotia: A "nut meat textured" underground mycelial mass, usually associated with Non-Cubie Shrooms

SEM: Scanning Electron Microscope

Shroom Wizard Grow Guide: See T.E.K.

Silica Gel: See Desiccant

Simple Cubie Tek: A good place for new growers to browse.

SOS: Sea of Shrooms Tek

Soy: See Additive

Spawn: Fully colonized substrate material used to innoculate bulk substrates.

Spores: What mushrooms have instead of seeds. Absolutely microscopic, but produced by the millions by each and every mushroom.

Spore Print: A sterile piece of paper, aluminum foil, or glass that the spores of a mushroom cap have fallen onto.

Spore Syringe: Many of the techniques for growing mushrooms indoors involve mixing up a spore print with some water, and injecting the result into a sterile container full of something the spores can infect, produce mycelium in, and eat. Several companies will sell you ready-to-use spore syringes for a few pounds/dollars. This site has links to, or address for, many of these companies.

Stamets, Paul: The owner of Fungi Perfecti and mushroom guru. The co-author of the Mushroom Cultivator and many other helpful books.

Steamer: It's not a pressure cooker..., but it can work if you are dilligent. Read and understand the Teks before starting them.

Stem: See Stipe

Sterilize: To make free from living microorganisms; usually with heat or a chemical treatment.

Stipe: The stem of a mushroom.

Strain: A race of individuals within a species. Each strain is common genetically but differs somewhat in appearence.

Straw: See Substrate

Stroma: A dense, cushion like growth of mycelium that forms on the surface of composts or casings and is indicative of vegetative growth.

Stuck: As in my jar is stuck, or slow.

Substrate: This is whatever you are using to grow the mushroom mycelium out on. Substrate is any material on which mushrooms can grow. Different varieties of mushroom like to eat different things (Rice, Rye Grain, Straw, Compost, Woodchips, Birdseed). Different techniques involve infecting substrates with anything from Spores, to chopped-up mycelium, to blended mushroom.

Syrian Rue: Peganum Harmala, a botanical herb containing harmalines, an MAOI.

TEK: T.E.K. stands for Traditional Ecological Knowledge Sort of like a technique, more like a commonly accepted practice. Often prefaced with something to tell you what type of Tek; e.g. PF-Tek, for Psilocybe Fanaticus T.E.K., one of the original home growing Teks on which many others are based.

Temperature: Spore Germination/Incubation: 84*-86*F   Fruiting: ~70's - 82*F    Lethal: 106*F

Terrarium: An enclosure for growing mushrooms indoors.

Time: How long does it take for shrooms to grow really

Timothy Hay: See Substrate

Trich: Trichoderma, Green Mold, A nasty contam

Trip: What happens when you eat the finished product. Can last from three to six hours. May range from mild visual effects and lightly enhanced perceptions, to a totally altered state of consciousness. Generally, this can be controlled to some degree by set, setting and dosage. Read some of the trip reports to get an idea of what other people have experienced. Please always remember, although many of the effects seem to be experienced by many different people, you're going to have *your* trip, not someone else's.

Tyvek: A synthetic cloth made of matted fibers and used as filters on the top of jars. This material is used in house construction as a weather barrier under siding and can be obtained from the hardware store. It is also used to make certain postal envelops.

Veil: A tissue covering mushrooms as they develop. When a mushroom is growing the edges of the cap are joined to the stem. As the mushroom grows larger, the cap spreads and the edges tear away, often leaving a very thin veil of material hanging from the stem.

Vermiculite: A highly absorbent material made from puffed mica. Used in rice cakes to retain water and to help keep the rice from sticking together. It can also be used as a casing material. The mycelium likes room to breathe and grow.

Wet Spot: Common name for the Bacillus bacterium , so named for the way it makes uncolonized grain appear excessively wet. Wet Spot has a dull gray to mucus-like brownish slime look to it. It has a strong but foul smell to it. Some describe the smell as something like rotten apples, dirty socks, or burnt bacon. See Contams

Wafer: A slice of a PF cake. Used to lay out Flat Beds

Water: Use good clean water throughout.

WBS: Wild Bird Seed, usually referring to Mycota's WBS Tek

Wheat: See Substrate

White Fuzz: A normal white fuzzy mycelial growth

Worm Castings: See Additive, Substrate

Yield: What you expect to get if you learn all this.

By Fishy1 (Fishy1) on Saturday, December 29, 2001 - 10:40 pm:

Does anyone know a conversion from grams to ml or Tbsp.s when using agar and malt extract?
My digi scale seems to have disappeared!!
Don't make me have to leave the house today in search of my scale!! Thanks, lazy fishy1

By An guy (Boomer) on Saturday, December 29, 2001 - 11:11 pm:

punch in what you have, then scroll to what you want.

Posted by: trinity May 05 03, 07:16 PM GMT
can't remeber where i found this, but its a great read if you want to understand the fungus. some of it pertains to different fungi that we don't work with, and alot of it does pertain to fungi and contams that we do work with. this is worthy of my fungi notes. i never see stuff like this here, and i think its needed. i'll be buying lots of books from a local university bookstore soon, to research more. biggrin.gif
if someone could explain where cubensis fits in, i'd appreciate it. i think its a basidiomycetes???
alot of this stuff is way over my head, but i will get it eventually. i just hate when someone mentions dikaryons in a post and i don't know whats going on. so, i thought this should be common knowledge.

The vegetative body of a fungus may consist of a single cell (yeasts, some Protoctista) or more commonly of hyphae - long tubular structures with or without cross-walls. A single filament is known as a hypha, more than one are called hyphae, and a mass of hyphae all intertwining is called a mycelium (pl. mycelia).
If hyphae lack crosswalls, they are described as coenocytic. Crosswalls are called septa (Sing. septum) and hyphae with septa are described as septate. Septa are characteristically absent (although they may be present to delineate reproductive structures or in older hyphae) in the Chytridiomycota and Zygomycota and present in the rest of the groups of fungi. When septa are present, they are usually not a complete barrier to the movement of cytoplasm and nuclei throughout the hyphae because each septum has a pore in the center. It may be a single, simple pore (Ascomycetes) or have amorphous material deposited around the pore in a dumb-bell shape (Basidiomycetes). Sometimes multiple small pores are found (Geotrichum candidum) or a combination of simple and small pores (Fusarium). Sometimes a septum with no pore is formed, this often occurs in old hyphae or to delimit a reproductive structure from the rest of the hyphae.
Although hyphae of different fungi appear superficially very similar (if you�ve seen the hyphae of one fungus, you�ve seen the hyphae of all syndrome), you can detect differences between them in the following ways:
1. width - may range from 0.5-1,000 �m, but the majority of species fall somewhere between 1-15 �m in diameter.
2. pigmentation - both color and intensity of pigmentation may vary. Colorless hyphae are said to be hyaline, while darkly pigmented hyphae are said to be dematiaceous.
3. septation - number of septations per unit length, and regularity with which septations occur.
4. branching - there are various degrees of branching and the angles at which the branches occur differ.
5. rate of growth - usually number of mm/day for radial growth on agar and number of mg of dry weight/day for growth in liquid culture. Although these characteristics are useful for describing a particular known species, they are not useful in identifying an unknown fungus. The usefulness of monoclonal antibodies and RFLPs in identifying fungal species from their vegetative state is under study. Until these techniques are worked out for a wide variety of fungi, you need to have the fungal reproductive structures in order to identify a fungus. Why? There are many more taxonomic characters available and the entire system of classification for fungi is based on reproductive features.
Hyphal walls contain 80-90% polysaccharides, 1-5% protein and 2-10% lipids. Two notable features of fungal cell walls are their chemical heterogeneity and the fact that, in most cases, they are devoid of cellulose, which is characteristic of plant cell walls. The hyphal walls of most fungi contain some chitin, a polymer usually found in animal exoskeletons. This makes the hyphae of some taxa very tough. Chitin makes up anywhere from 3-60% of the dry mass of the wall and is usually associated with non-cellulosic �-1-3 and � 1-6 linked glucans but also ∂-1-3 and ∂-1-4 linked ones. There are differences in wall composition between taxonomic groups and these are presented in your handout.
Hyphal walls normally appear homogeneous in section under the light microscope; however, ultra-thin sections under the electron microscope reveal a layering of the walls. In most fungi the hyphal wall has a distinct microfibrillar texture on the inner face and an amorphous appearance on the outer surface. Thus it is basically dual textured, but in many fungi there is a multiplicity of layers. The microfibrillar components are composed of chitin in the majority of fungi but are cellulose-like in the Oomycetes. The amorphous components are the more varied glucans.

Polarized growth (at the apex) is a distinctive characteristic of the fungal kingdom. Microradioautographic studies reveal that new wall material is incorporated maximally at the apex. The apical cell usually contains several nuclei, organelles and at the very tip, a series of vesicles which are thought to produce cell wall materials. The cytoplasm further from the tip is more vacuolate (filled with numerous small vacuoles or one large one) - eventually a single large vacuole fills most of the cell. The walls of older hyphae are often thicker and contain pigment deposits. Sometimes in older hyphae, cytoplasm is withdrawn into a few cells which become thick-walled and pigmented. These cells are known as chlamydospores and are thought to be resistant, sometimes overwintering structures. Branches are formed behind the apices of hyphae. Each branch has its own growth apex. Although increase in volume is achieved solely by the extension of the hyphal tip, extension even there being limited to the curved portion of the apex, protoplasm for growth is synthesized by a considerable length of the hypha behind the tip. This is called the peripheral growth zone in contrast to the extension zone and it may extend back as far as 1-2 mm or even more from the hyphal tip. The extension zone varies in length with the rate of extension of the hypha. The faster the rate, the longer the zone. This zone can be seen by applying Calcolfluor to hyphal tips and examining them with florescence microscopy. There is also a positive correlation between the length of the extension zone and hyphal diameter. Generally, the length of the extension zone in most fungi is less than 20 �m. Over this very short distance, there is a rapid decline in extensibility from the very tip of the hypha to the base of the zone. Is there any adaptive value to apical growth?
So if we look at the hypha, we will see three zones:

A. Apical Zone - densely cytoplasmic, no vacuoles, but densely populated with vesicles. These vesicles are formed in the sub-apical zone and are transported to the apex. It is thought that they contain materials and enzymes necessary for the growth of the wall and the plasmalemma at the apex. The plasmalemma in the apical extension zone is distinctly crenulated and the crenulations are comparable in diameter with the vesicles. It is assumed that the crenulations represent vesicles whose membranes have fused with the plasmalemma and which are in the process of extruding their contents into the wall and so extending it. The apical vesicular complex is of universal occurrence in the apices of growing hyphae, but it may differ slightly in arrangement of vesicles in different group of fungi.

B. Sub-apical Zone - very rich in protoplasmic contents.

C. Zone of Vacuolation - appearance of vacuoles. As hyphae age, vacuolation increases, lipids accumulate and the proportion of cytoplasm is reduced accordingly. The extension of the apex is not just a physical process like blowing up a balloon, but it is thought to also involve the enzymatic breakdown and synthesis of wall materials. Chitin micro-fibrils are thought to be broken down to make the wall more elastic and then after the wall is stretched, chitin fibrils are synthesized to form a rigid wall.
Bartnicki-Garcia (1973) has proposed a model for wall growth. It is based on two wall layers, an inner microfibrillar one and an outer, amorphous one. Lytic enzymes from cytoplasmic vesicles are secreted into the wall and these attack and break the microfibrils. The wall in such an area can then no longer withstand the high turgor pressure from within and becomes stretched with a consequent increase in area. Other vesicles bring synthases which rebuild the microfibrils. It is assumed that soluble precursors necessary for the synthesis of the microfibrils are transported directly across the plasmalemma. Other vesicles containing the components of the amorphous wall material, possibly in a preformed state, deposit their contents against the wall and these are forced through the microfibrillar framework and into place by turgor pressure. Turgor pressure, however, does not seem to be a factor in hyphal elongation in Saprolegnia and Achlya.
Another interesting aspect of the growth fungi is the growth pattern of the mycelium itself. This is one aspect of fungal growth that you don�t usually see in nature because the hyphae are ramifying through the substrate and cannot be seen by the naked eye. Generally, the way you recognize that a fungus is present is by the presence of its reproductive structures.
Whenever you grow a fungus in culture from a small piece of inoculum, the colony assumes a circular pattern. You can measure radial growth rates of hyphae by drawing diameters throughout the colony and measuring the diameters of the colony on successive days. Linear growth (growth in length of hyphae) follows a pattern found for populations of other organisms: lag, linear or log, and stationary. Theoretically growth can continue indefinitely if some factor does not limit it. In culture, it is often the physical barrier of the Petri dish walls. Linear growth rate is affected by a variety of external factors: temperature, pH, nutrients, O2/CO2 ratios, humidity, moisture content, etc. Each fungus, however, has its own intrinsic maximum growth rate. This can be approximated for some species by growing them in a chemostat where ideal conditions are maintained at a constant level.

Often in culture, one can see concentric rings. These may reflect alterations in hyphal density or sporulation and often result from diurnal changes, for example, in sunlight which results in alternating light-dark cycles. The oldest parts of a colony are in the center - these central regions may die off - remember hyphae grow at the tips.
Perhaps the most impressive demonstration of circular growth patterns occur with fairy ring fungi - the most famous of which is the mushroom Marasmius oreades. The rings are characterized by a circle of dead or dying grass surrounded on both sides by patches of dark green grass. The fungus becomes established at a single point the first year and grows outward in a circle.

A. Preceding the hyphae - the fungus is able to degrade humic acids and other plant residues in soil to release N and P in excess of its needs. Plants can compete for a share of this and you get deep, green luxuriant growth of the grass.
B. Zone of dense hyphal growth - hyphae may form a barrier to rainfall and secrete cyanogenic compounds - both of these factors may kill off the grass - so you get a brownish dead zone - this is the zone where the fungus forms its fruiting bodies.
C. Zone where mycelium dies off and releases N and P for use by grass which becomes dark green and luxuriant.
Fairy rings increase in diameter up to 200 mm each year and vary from under a meter to well over 10 meters in diameter.
Life cycles, spore formation and germination. The times at which a fungus reproduces sexually and asexually, the nuclear condition and morphology of these stages are known as the life cycle of that fungus. The life cycles of a fungus reflects the adaptations of that organism to its environment and/or niche, and is of great interest from an evolutionary and biological point of view. A complete understanding of an organism's life cycle is necessary if we want to control or use a particular species.

As you might expect for the fungi, life cycles are not as consistent as those found for flowering plants. The life cycle of an organism can be described as the series of events from zygote to zygote. Superimposed on the life cycle is often an asexual reproductive phase - a manner of increasing numbers of individuals without going through sexual reproduction (fusion, karyogamy and meiosis).
Asexual reproduction depends on mitotic division of the nucleus, requires less expenditure of energy and reduces the role of chance. On the negative side, it provides less genetic variation and relies on mutation and the parasexual cycle as a source of variation. The structures formed during asexual reproduction include: zoospores (Chytridiomycota), sporangiospores (Zygomycota) and conidia (Ascomycetes, Basidiomycetes). The generic term for asexual spores is mitospore.
Sexual reproduction requires the fusing of two cells and/or nuclei, sometimes through the production of specialized structures such as gametangia. Thus the process involves chance (since the two mates must find each other) and is energetically more expensive than asexual reproduction. On the positive side it provides new combinations of alleles. Structures formed during meiosis include: resting sporangia giving rise to zoospores (Chytridiomycota); zygospores (Zygomycota); asci and ascospores (Ascomycota); basidia and basidiospores (Basidiomycetes).
One thing is quite clear in the fungi, their life cycles are quite different from those of higher plants and animals where the organism is diploid and meiosis occurs in cells which are totally dependent on the diploid organisms to produce haploid cells which are short-lived since they must fuse to form a zygote or die.

Basic Life Cycle Types in Fungi
Asexual cycle - only the process of mitosis occurs, entirely haploid (or can be diploid in some yeasts). Fungi included in this category are the Fungi Imperfecti and some chytrids for which sexual reproduction has not been observed.
Haploid cycle - Meiosis immediately follows nuclear fusion and the meiotic products are then dispersed. The diploid phase is, therefore, of minimal duration. This cycle is shown by some Chytridiomycota and Ascomycetes.
Haploid-dikaryotic - similar to the preceding save that paired, potentially conjugant kinds of nuclei persist in close physical association in the same hyphal segment and divide synchronously, for a greater or lesser period. At one extreme, the association may be for a few cell generations only, e.g. in many Ascomycetes, binucleate ascogenous hyphae are developed just prior to ascus development, and such a dikaryon cannot apparently exist independently of the haploid phase (Raper's haploid cycle with restricted dikaryon).
At the other extreme is the condition where the meiospores fuse to reform a dikaryon so that the fungus is dikaryotic throughout its life cycle, save for the moment of fertilization and during the subsequent meiosis. This can occur in yeasts but is more frequent in smut fungi. An intermediate and highly characteristc type of life cycle is shown by the majority of Basidiomycetes. Here the mycelium derived from germination of a meiospore (basidiospore) may persist in the haploid condition, as a monokaryon, but once a dikaryon is formed, through hyphal fusion for example, it shows potentially unrestricted and independent growth so that it may well comprise the most long-lived phase of the life cycle (Raper's 'Haploid-dicaryotic cycle'). For example, the dikaryotic phase of various fairyring fungi has probably persisted for several centuries.
Haploid-diploid - these phases alternate regularly, an unusual condition in fungi restricted almost entirely to a few species of aquatic Chyridiomycota.
Diploid - the haploid phase is restricted to the gametes or gametangial phase. Most of the Oomycota may conform to this pattern and it is more similar to your life cycle and that of flowering plants. This supports the alignment of this group with the Stramenopila.

Spore Germination
Spores are generally considered dormant structures. Dormancy is any rest period or reversible interruption of the phenotypic development of the organism. The spore stage is a quiescent phase situated in the life cycle of a fungus between two phases of active growth. There are two basic types of dormancy: constitutional (memnospores) and exogenous (xenospores). Constitutional dormancy is due to an innate property of the species. For example a spore might have a physical or chemical barrier in the wall that inhibits the uptake of water or nutrients or there may be a metabolic block that needs to be overcome or an inhibitor that must be leached out before germination will occur. With exogenous dormancy, theoretically the spore is capable of germinating immediately after it is produced but it remains dormant due to unfavorable environmental conditions such as water availability, temperature, pH, etc.

Factors required for germination.
1. Water. Water is essential for spore germination and the amount required varies among taxa.
80% humidity - Aspergillus, Penicillium
90-95% - Alternaria, Colletotrichum, Ustilago, Cladosporium
More that 95% - Venturia, Magnusia
Liquid water - many species including Endoconidia, Peronosporales, Sclerotinia conidia, rust spores, etc.
2. Temperature. The temperature required for germination varies with the species and often reflects geographical distribution, habitat and life cycle.
3. Nutrition. Many spores carry with them internally all the nutrients needed but some require a special exogenous factor, e.g., vitamins, inorganic ions, particular carbon source.
4. pH. Spores of most fungal species will germinate at a pH between 4.5-6.5.
5. Oxygen. Small quantities of oxygen are needed for spore germination and low quantities of oxygen are not thought to limit germination.

Changes during spore germination.
1. Water content increases and the spore swells due to the absorption of water. The spore comes out of the quiescent metabolic state as enzymes go into solution.
2. Vacuolation increases.
3. Endoplasmic reticulum and other cell organelles increase.
4. Respiration increases and the mitochondria enlarge and form more cristae.
5. Vesicles thought to be involved in wall synthesis also appear.
6. In spores with lipid bodies, the lipid bodies disappear as the lipids are used up as an energy source.
7. An opening on the spore wall appears or the plug in a germ pore is removed.
8. A hyphal tube, called the germ tube, emerges from the opening or pore and develops into a hypha or appressorium (in plant pathogens).

Spore formation.
A. Metabolic state. Each species must produce enough energy and materials for form spores. Until they do this, they will not sporulate under any environmental conditions. The amount of metabolism required to sporulate varies among species. This is often referred to as sporulation competence and equals the time from spore germination to spore formation.
B. Environmental factors known to be important in stimulating spore production. These factors are highly species specific and one often has to try many different factors before identifying the one that triggers the particular fungus you might be studying.
1. Nutrition - concentration, qualitative composition, relative quantitative composition, sequence of available nutrients.
2. Water supply.
3. pH
4. Aeration (oxygen/carbon dioxide ratio)
5. Radiation - quality and quantity of light
6. Biological interactions
7. Temperature
C. Methods of formation. (These will be discussed as we cover specific groups)
D. Characteristics of spores (does not include zoospores). You will observe a wide variety of different spores during the course. You will find that many will have a combination of the following characteristics:
1. Low water content.
2. Contain large quantities of storage compounds (lipids, glycogen granules, membrane bound compounds containing phospholipids, polysaccharides)
3. Wall structure differs from that of parent hyphae structurally and chemically. There may be more wall layers, up to 8, and the walls may contain structural reinforcement and melanin, a dark pigment that protects from UV protection.
5. Differentiated walls may be present (pitted, warted, spinulose, gelatinous sheaths, appendages).
6. All cellular organelles are present except a vacuole.
Life history strategies.
Life cycles indicate the sequence and relative duration of the vegetative and reproductive states and the nuclear ploidy throughout. Life history strategies describe the relative amount of energy a species puts into life activities such as growth, reproduction, dispersal, production of secondary metabolites, etc. The life history strategy reflects the species adaptation to its habitat and niche. Three strategies are recognized for fungi: ruderal, stress tolerant, and competitive. Please read about these strategies in Dix and Webster.