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Nutrition in micro-organisms

  • Both bacteria and fungi obtain their nutrition through the process of extra-cellular digestion.
  • The word "extra-cellular" means outside of the cell(s).
  • Viruses are not living and do not acquire nutrients.

Extra-cellular digestion

The process of extra-cellular digestion occurs in the following steps.
  1. Enzymes are released out of the bacterial or fungal cell(s)
  2. The enzymes digest the large food molecules and break them down into smaller ones.
  3. The small food particles are absorbed into the cell(s) and the nutrients are used.

Fungal Hyphae
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Feeding Hyphae close-up
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In fungi, these feeding hyphae release enzymes on to the food source. The enzymes digest the food outside of the fungi cells. The digested food is then reabsorbed into the fungus.