What do the terms phycobiont and mycobiont signify?
A lichen is structurally organised entity consisting of the permanent association of a fungus and an alga. The fungal component of a lichen is called mycobiont and the algal component is called phycobiont.
Both mycobiont and phycobiont are associated in symbiotic union in which the fungus is predominant and alga is subordinate partner. – ; Fungus provides the structural covering that protects alga from unfavourable conditions,
i.e., drought, heat, etc. It also traps moisture from the atmosphere and anchors the
lichen to a rock, tree bark, leaves and other similar supports. The alga prepares organic food by the process of photosynthesis from carbon dioxide. If the algal component is cyanobacteria (blue-green alga), they fix atmospheric nitrogen in addition to preparation of food.
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