Difference Between Bacteria and Fungi

Organisms are classified under two major categories; prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Prokaryotes are the most primitive organisms which are single-celled and lack numerous organelles. On the other hand, eukaryotes are complex organisms that originated from prokaryotes and are multicellular organisms with numerous organelles that perform different functions.

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Bacteria belong to the prokaryotes, whereas Fungi comes under the eukaryotes. Besides the cellular make up the difference, bacteria and fungi differ from each other in many aspects. Bacteria need a host to survive, whereas fungi grow their own. Bacteria can be autotrophs as well as heterotrophs, whereas fungi are always heterotrophs. Bacteria lack the nuclear membrane, which encloses the nucleus, whereas fungi have a well-defined nucleus that is surrounded by the nuclear membrane.

Comparison Chart

Basis for Comparison Bacteria Fungi
Cell membrane Present below the cell wall Present in Fungi
Sterols in the cell membrane Absent, except in mycoplasma Present
Nucleus Absent Present
Cell wall Present Present
Cell wall composition Composed of peptidoglycan Composed of chitin and polysaccharides
Organelles Absent Present
Shapes Have three shapes: spiral, round and rod-shaped Show different shapes but mostly present in the shape of thread-like hyphae
Modes of reproduction Asexual Asexual and sexual
Motility Move by using flagella Non-motile
pH requirement for best growth Neutral pH Acidic pH
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic and heterotrophic Heterotrophic
Derive energy from Sugars, proteins and fats Pre-existing sources of the environment
Diseases Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Rabies, Diphtheria, Cholera, sore throat, Pertusis, etc Aspergillosis,  Athletes foot.

What is Bacteria?

Bacteria are prokaryotic organisms that are considered as first organisms on earth as bacteria were evolved around 3.5 billion years ago. They can be of both autotrophs and heterotrophs. Autotrophs can prepare their food by chemosynthesis or photosynthesis. Heterotrophs depend on the host for their nutrition. Bacteria are present in three shapes; spherical, rod-shaped and spiral shape and reproduce asexually by binary fission or conjugation.

Bacteria are beneficial in releasing nitrogen to the plants and in decomposing organic matters. Bacteria also helps in the fermentation process for making cheese, curd and yogurt. But sometimes, they cause illnesses such as tuberculosis, spoiling of food and contamination of water. Bacteria are responsible for tuberculosis, sore throat, pneumonia, throat infection and stomach related problems.

Bacteria are classified into two groups based on the amount of peptidoglycan in the cell wall; gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. The gram-positive bacteria consist a large amount of peptidoglycan in their cell wall whereas gram-negative bacteria have the thin layer of peptidoglycan.

Components of Bacteria

The bacterial cell contains the following components:

  1. Glycocalyx: The layer of glycocalyx work as a surface receptor and also protects the cell wall.
  2. Nucleoid: Nucleoid is the place where the genetic material is stored into the condensed small packet.
  3. Pilus: It is a hollow attachment found on the surface of bacteria. It is used in transfer of DNA to other cells during the cell adhesion.
  4. Mesosomes: These structures help in cell respiration. They are the extension of the cell membrane, unfolded into the cytoplasm.
  5. Flagellum: It is helpful in cellular movement. These structures are attached to the basal body of the cell.
  6. Cell Wall: Cell wall of bacteria provides rigidity and support to the cell.
  7. Fimbriae: These are small hair-like structures that are helpful in an attachment to the surface and other bacteria during mating.
  8. Granules: These particles support the storage of glycogen, phosphate, carbohydrates and fats, which are used at the time of need.
  9. Ribosomes: These are tiny particles and play a vital role in the synthesis of protein.
  10. Cell membrane: It is a thin layer of proteins and lipids that is present around the cytoplasm and limits the flow of materials through the cells.
  11. Endospore: It protects the cell from the harsh conditions.

What is Fungi?

Fungi are the eukaryotic organism which can be cellular or multicellular, derived from protists 900 million years ago. Fungi are thread-like structures called hyphae when these hyphal structures grow and form a thick mass called mycelium.

Fungi are heterotrophic organisms and use organic carbon for their nutrition. They secrete hydrolytic enzymes by spreading in soil and rotten wood-feeding off the organic remains. They are considered as saprophytes because of feeding on the dead and decaying materials. Fungi reproduce sexually as well asexually by fragmentation, developing branches, budding or spore formation.

Fungi are used in making antibiotics. Some are used as edibles and some are used for making bread. But a few fungi are also responsible for plant and animal diseases. Fungi cause ringworm and athlete’s foot.

Components of Fungi

Following are the components of fungi:

  1. Nucleus: Genetic material (DNA) is stored in the nucleus and helps in protein synthesis and ribosomes.
  2. Cytoplasm: Cytoplasm of the fungi is the site for other organelles and metabolic activities.
  3. Mitochondria: Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the fungal cell.
  4. Golgi Apparatus: Golgi apparatus perform different functions. It also helps in the sorting of lipids and proteins and modifications of the proteins.
  5. Lysosomes and Peroxisomes: These organelles help in the degradation of foreign particles.
  6. Endoplasmic Reticulum: These structures help in the transportation of the materials like lipids and proteins and are attached to the nuclear membrane.
  7. Cell Wall: It provides proper shape and structure to the cell as well as support.
  8. Ribosomes: These organelles help in the synthesis of protein.
  9. Plasma Membrane: It is a semi-permeable membrane that surrounds the cytoplasm. It works as the barrier of the cell by checking the entry and exit of molecules.

Key Differences

  1. Bacteria are prokaryotes, whereas fungi are eukaryotes.
  2. Bacteria are unicellular organisms, whereas fungi are multicellular organisms.
  3. Bacteria do not have a well-defined nucleus, whereas fungi have a well-defined nucleus.
  4. Bacteria have three shapes; rod, spiral and round, whereas fungi exist in a thread-like structure called hyphae.
  5. Bacteria are both autotrophs and heterotrophs, whereas fungi are heterotrophs.
  6. Bacteria obtain their energy from food sources, whereas fungi obtain their energy from dead and decay matter.

Key Similarities

  1. Both bacteria and fungi contain DNA as genetic material.
  2. Both bacteria and fungi have cell membranes as well as cytoplasm.
  3. Both bacteria and fungi have the same food sources.
  4. Both bacteria and fungi are useful for humans.
  5. Both bacteria and fungi cause diseases in humans.
  6. Both can reproduce.


In conclusion, bacteria are prokaryotes and fungi are eukaryotes. Both have many structural differences from each other. Both cause different diseases in humans and other organisms.

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