Mycology Glossary

Written by MicroDok


Acrasiomycetes are cellular slime moulds.

Aerial hyphae are branching structures of fungi that do not penetrate the supporting medium but instead they project above the surface of the mycelia.

Aflatoxins are the potent and poisonous toxins produced by A. fumigatus. These toxins are cancer-causing in nature.

Allylamines are synthetic antifungal agents that interfere with the activities of squalene synthase, enzyme that promote the formation of squalene metabolites in fungi; and typical examples include terbinafine and naftifine.

Anamorphs are fungal organisms with asexual characteristics.

Anthropophilic fungi are dermatophytes that naturally reside on the body of humans.

Antifungal agents are antimicrobial agents that kill or inhibit the growth of pathogenic fungi.

Apoptosis is defined as a programmed cell death.

Ascocarp is the internal multicellular fruiting structure in which the ascus of ascomycetes is usually formed.

Ascospores are the sexual spores of Ascomycetes.


Basidia are microscopic projections or cells from which basidiospores are developed from.

Basidiomycetes are fungi that form sexual spores known as basidiospores.

Basidiospores are sexual spores formed at the end of the basidium (a club-shaped structure) by basidiomycetes.

Blooms are a community of microorganisms comprising algae and cyanobacteria that cover water surfaces and render it almost unhygienic and dirty-looking.

Budding is a type of asexual reproduction in which the daughter cell emanates or develops from the parent cell.


Coenocytic hyphae are hyphae without cross-walls and contain more than one nucleus (i.e., they are multi-nucleated).

Columella are axial or central, unicellular or multicellular structures formed within the fruiting body of some fungi. It is an extension of the sporangiophore into the cavity of the sporangium.

Crustose lichens are crust-like lichens which usually inhabit the bark of trees, soils and rock surfaces.

Cutaneous mycoses are fungal infections of the skin, nails and hairs; and they are mainly caused by dermatophytes.

Cycloheximide is an antifungal agent that inhibits the growth of saprophytic fungi (i.e. non-pathogenic fungi); and they are usually incorporated into fungal culture media (e.g. Sabouraud dextrose agar) to prevent the growth of these organisms.


Dematiaceous fungi are fungal organisms with cell walls that contain the skin pigment, melanin. Such fungi leave a characteristic black colouration on the skin after an infection or disease.

Dermatophytes are fungal cells that cause skin infections or diseases. They are a group of fungal organisms that can degrade the keratin layers or tissues of animals and humans. Dermatophytes are fungi that can degrade the keratinized tissues of living organisms including those of humans and animals.

Deuteromycetes are generally known as “imperfect fungi” unlike the ascomycetes, zygomycetes and basidiomycetes which are “true fungi”.

Dimorphic are fungi that can exist as both yeast (especially in the parasitic phase) and moulds (especially in the saprophytic phase) in different conditions. They can also be known as diphasic fungi.

Dimorphism is used to describe a fungus with two growth forms i.e., the yeast & mould forms. Some fungi exist as yeast in tissues but as mould in the environment. Such fungi are called dimorphic or diphasic fungi. It is the phenomenon or condition in which a particular fungus exists in two morphological or growth forms viz yeast and mould forms.


Echinocandins are antifungal agents that block the synthesis of glucan (polysaccharide polymers found in fungal cells) layers in pathogenic fungi.

Endogenous fungal infections are fungal infections caused by fungi that are members of the human normal microflora (for example, Candida species). Infections caused by endogenous fungi usually occurs when the body’s immune system is compromised or in a bad condition.

Endophytes are endosymbionts or organisms that comprises of a fungus and a bacterium; and which live within plant tissues where they confer several benefits that is either mutualistic or parasitic.

Ergotism is a psychotic and neurological disease caused by C. purpurea in humans and animals.

Exogenous fungal infections are the fungal infection usually acquired externally from the environment via the inhalation of infectious fungal spores in aerosols or from dust particles.


Flucytosine is an antifungal agent that inhibits the biosynthesis of nucleic acid molecules (DNA and RNA) in pathogenic fungi.

Fruticose lichens are the most highly developed forms of lichens. They can also be referred to as stalked lichens due to their structure and ability to form fruiting bodies.

Fungi (singular: fungus) are eukaryotic and heterotrophic microorganisms that do not contain chlorophyll but obtains its nutrient through the absorption of food and/or nutrients from dead or decaying organic matter in its environment.

Fungicidal agents are antimicrobial agents that kill fungi.

Fungistatic agents are antimicrobial agents that inhibit the growth of pathogenic fungi.


Geophilic fungi are dermatophytes that reside naturally in the soil.

GRAS is the acronym for generally recognized as safe.

Griseofulvin is an antifungal agent that inhibits cell division in pathogenic fungi by interfering with mitosis especially at the stage of microtubule development; and they are mainly use for topical antifungal applications.


Hyphae is the long branching filaments or structures of fungi. It is a network of filaments (with cross-walls) formed by multicellular fungi (i.e., moulds). It is the tube-like extension of a fungal cell.


Lichens are a symbiotic relationship of two distinct organisms, in this case a fungus and an algae or cyanobacteria. Lichen is simply a symbiotic association of slow-growing microorganisms that is composed mainly of a fungus and cyanobacteria or green algae.

Lichens are macro-organisms comprising fungi and algae or cyanobacteria.


Medial mycology is study of pathogenic fungi (i.e., fungal organisms that are of medical importance and cause disease in humans.

Moulds are filamentous-branching forms of fungi that also bear conidia or fungal spores.

Mushroom farming or cultivation is the large-scale production of mushroom for either domestic or commercial purposes.

Mushrooms are fruiting fungal bodies that are macroscopic in nature. They are visible; and are known to grow in moist environments. Mushrooms are macroscopic fungi that possess fruiting bodies with umbrella shapes.

Mushrooms are the macroscopic reproductive or fruiting bodies of fungi. They are visible and can be seen around our homes, in bushes, on stored or baked foods and in farms.

Mycetismus is known as mushroom poisoning; and it results from the consumption of toxic substances (released as secondary metabolites) from wild mushrooms.

Mycobiont is the fungal hyphae of the lichen. They are the main determinants of lichen structure or morphology.

Mycoflora are fungi that are normal flora of the human body. Some Candida species are mycoflora found in the human mouth and genital regions such as the female vagina.

Mycology is simply defined as the study of fungi.

Mycorrhizae is defined as the symbiotic associations between fungi and plant roots to form fungus roots. Mycorrhizae contribute to plants nutrition by facilitating nutrient and water uptake by plant roots from the soil.

Mycoses are fungal-related infections caused by pathogenic fungi in human population

Mycotoxicology is the area of microbiology that studies fungi and the toxins they produce (i.e., mycotoxins).

Mycotoxicoses are infections or intoxication caused by mycotoxins (fungal exotoxins) produced by some fungal organisms that infest food especially cereals and grains that are poorly stored.

Mycotoxins are exotoxins produced by fungi.


Opportunistic mycoses are fungal infections caused by opportunistic fungi that only affect people with weakened immune system.

Oral thrush (oral candidiasis) is a localized fungal infection caused by C. albicans in the oral cavity of humans such as the tongue, lips and gums.


Phialides are non-septate, colourless or pigmented conidia formed form vegetative hyphae. They are the terminal ends or regions of conidiophores.

Photobiont are the cyanobacteria or green algae partner of lichen. They can also be called phycobiont.

Phytopathogens are fungal organisms that cause disease in plants especially agricultural crops.

Polyenes are antifungal agents that disrupt the integrity or cellular structure of the fungal cell membrane. They include amphotericin B and nystatin.

Pseudohyphae are chains of an elongated bud. They are usually formed from fungal species whose buds fail to separate from the parent cell, but instead continue to extend to form an elongated budding yeast cells known as pseudohyphae.


Saprobes are organisms that carry out a saprophytic mode of nutrition and thus derive their nourishment (energy and carbon) from non-living or decaying organic matter that they degrade or breakdown.

Saprotrophs are organisms whose mode of nutrition or feeding are saprophytic in nature (i.e., they feed on decaying organic matter). Fusarium species can also be found on trees and plants.

Septate hyphae are hyphae with cross-walls.

Sporotrichosis is an occupational fungal disease (caused by Sporothrix schenckii) that is very common amongst gardeners, farmers and horticulturists; and the disease is usually a self-limiting subcutaneous mycoses but treatment for the mycoses is usually done using oral antifungal agents

Subcutaneous mycoses are fungal infections that affect the subcutaneous tissues below the skin, and the bone and other tissues occasionally.

Superficial mycoses are fungal infections which are only limited to the keratinized outer layer of the skin, hair and nails.

Systemic mycoses are fungal infections that affect deep tissues and organs of the body; and they generally start off as pulmonary infections in affected individuals.T

Teleomorphs are fungal organisms with sexual characteristics.

Terbinafine is a broad-spectrum antifungal agent which interferes with the structural and functional integrity of fungal cell membrane by inhibiting the enzyme squalene 2, 3 epoxidase.


Vegetative hyphae are the hyphae that penetrate the supporting medium on which the fungus is growing. They can also be called the substrate hyphae.


Woods lamp examination is a microbiological laboratory and/or clinical diagnosis technique in which a light or transillumination from a specialized type of lamp (known as wood lamp) is used to detect fungal infections on the skin surface or hair.


Yeasts are single-celled or unicellular fungi, and they are usually round to oval in shape.


Zoophilic fungi are dermatophytes that inhabit animals such as cattle, horses, dogs and cats.

Zygomycosis are fungal infections caused by zygomycetes. Examples of zygomycosis include mucormycosis (caused by Mucor species and other zygomycetes such as Rhizopus and Absidia species) and entomophthoramycosis (caused by Basidiobolus haptosporus, a mucormycete).

Zygospores are sexual spores with thick walls commonly produced from a diploid zygote formed from the fusion of two haploid nuclei (known as the gametangia) or unicellular fungal gametes.




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