Meaning of Spores - encyclopedia - 2023



What is Spores:

The spores are the agents of reproduction (or only of the asexual phases) of the life cycle of the beings of the fungi Kingdom, a large part of those of the protista Kingdom (protozoa and algae) and some that belong to the Plantae Kingdom. In the kingdom monera (bacteria), however, the spores are not reproductive but are resistance agents called endospores.

In this sense, when speaking of spores, the Kingdom of nature in which the beings that produce them belong must be taken into consideration.

Types of spores

In general, we can consider 2 types of spores: the reproductive ones in fungi, some plants, protozoa and algae and those that are produced as a survival mechanism against hostile environments in the case of bacteria.

Spores in the fungi Kingdom

The spores in the organisms of the Kingdom fungi, usually fungi, have a reproductive function.

They are reproductive cells that do not need to "mate" with another cell to reproduce, therefore they are called asexual reproduction agents.

Reproduction by spores is characteristic of the Fungi Kingdom or of fungi. These release the spores that travel through the air to places with favorable conditions for their reproduction. This is the case, for example, of molds.

Spores in the Monera Kingdom

Bacteria usually produce spores as a defense mechanism that can have beneficial properties for humans or, on the other hand, cause disease.

The bacteria belonging to the Monera Kingdom that generate spores, are mostly Bacillus and Clostridium bacilli. The Bacillus clausii, for example, it is considered a probiotic that stimulates the intestinal tract in its latent phase.

On the other hand, some of the bacterial spores that cause disease in humans are, for example, the Cloustridium botulinum which causes bolutism, a common food poisoning in sausages and canned goods in poor condition.

Another toxic agent that affects humans and domestic animals is Bacillus anthracis which causes anthrax.

Spores and endospores

Bacterial spores have no reproductive functions. They are in a dormant or dormant state for much of the bacterium's life cycle and only germinate during unfavorable periods. These bacterial spores are called endospores and are formed through a process called sporulation.

The sporulation it is only triggered when there is a deficiency in the bacteria or an imminent environmental stress. Endospores resist high temperatures, radiation, and toxic chemicals.

See also Monera Kingdom.

Spores in the Kingdom plantae

In plants that reproduce by alternation of generations, that is, they go through sexual and asexual phases, the spores are the reproductive agent of the asexual phase.

The asexual phase is the dominant phase of the higher vascular plants, that is, those that produce seeds or flowers and are not considered primitive like ferns. In these plants, the spores are generally created from a sporophyte and are divided into two types:

  • Microspore: male spores that will create male gametes such as pollen.
  • Macrospore: female spores that will generate female gametes such as the cones of the conifer or the ovules within the flower.

In lower plants, spores tend to have seed-like functions. The vascular plants that generate spores are, for the most part, classified within angiosperms (which produce seeds, flowers and fruits) and gymnosperms (which generate seeds but not flowers).

In primitive plants, the sexual phase is the dominant one in reproduction. In this case, the spores will be produced if the plant has an asexual phase.

Spores in the Protista Kingdom

Within the organisms of the protista Kingdom, that is, protozoa and simple algae, spores are reproductive agents.

Simple algae produce spores adopting characteristics similar to the asexual phase of plants. In this case, the form of transport of the spores involves currents or movements of water, instead of air, used by terrestrial plants.

On the other hand, protozoa or immobile protozoa, called sporozoa, also use asexual reproduction mechanisms by spores. Some of them are better known for the transmission of infectious diseases such as, for example, plasmodium that transmits malaria.