What are the differences between bacteria and viruses … or viruses and fungi … or bacteria and fungi? Are these similar in any way? We studied these plant pathologies during Week 6 of my Florida Master Gardener program in Broward County.
- A fungus might not be a plant at all; a bacterium is definitely not a plant; a virus might not even be alive.
- A virus is so small, you need an electron microscope to see it; a fungus is often easily visible; a bacterium is smaller than a fungus.
- A virus, to reproduce, must have a host; a bacterium can survive on its own; a fungus might survive on its own for a long time.
- Many fungi have spores, which aid in dispersal and reproduction; bacteria lack spores and thus rely on outside agents for dispersal.
- Fungi and bacteria lack chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for the green color of many plants and algae; but both have cell walls.
Source: Disease Diagnosis Guidelines for Master Gardeners, by Kenneth Pernezny