I'm wondering where field mushrooms get their energy from. I've heard that they can easily grow on soil in a dark room. So, it seems to me that there wouldn't be any photosynthesizing plants from which they could get energy. Also, as far as I know, they don't have seeds from which they could directly get energy initially.

So, I have two questions:

  1. Where do mushrooms get their initial energy from? (The spores, if that is the right term)
  2. Where do they get their energy from in later stages? (If there is a difference at all)
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    $\begingroup$ Plant-physiology is an incorrect tag because fungi aren't plants. $\endgroup$
    – Daan
    Feb 1, 2017 at 18:29
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    $\begingroup$ The difference between plants is also related to your question because plants get their energy directly from light and fungi from organic material. $\endgroup$
    – Daan
    Feb 1, 2017 at 20:28

2 Answers 2


Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi. Fungi get their energy by decomposing dead or decaying organic material, such as fallen leaves or dung.

Some background: spores of fungi germinate forming mycelia consisting of threadlike hyphae. When the hyphae of different fungi meet, they may have sex and form mushrooms. The mushrooms produce the spores. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fungus.

So, each of these stages get their energy ultimately from decomposition, although the mushrooms get their energy from the mycelium. Spores rely on their internal energy storage to germinate and start decomposing. Even though spores are tiny, the have energy stored, like all cells do.

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    $\begingroup$ Why don't you add a link for further reading? $\endgroup$
    – Tyto alba
    Feb 1, 2017 at 16:09
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    $\begingroup$ The Wikipedia pages on this are OK, but not really an authoritative source. $\endgroup$
    – Daan
    Feb 1, 2017 at 17:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Daan in that case, maybe alternative sources? $\endgroup$
    – Asher F.
    Feb 1, 2017 at 18:14
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    $\begingroup$ Add them still. Thez are accepted as sources for general topics and really helpful for further reading, especially for laymen. $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2017 at 18:14

Research mushroom " metabolism/enzymes/catabolism/respiration/glycolysis" to read nice texts of concise info for that topic.

Mushrooms use enzymes to break down cellulose and substrates into smaller substances and eventually they use CO2 for respiration, glycolysis, and ATP production. https://books.google.fr/books?id=xmB_DYPp9LIC&pg=PA49&lpg=PA49&dq=mushroom+metabolism&source=bl&ots=mEkG_WGfaY&sig=9XAXzpPgSMHkRg_8kPjE1LIYatQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjfwJvjmLLdAhXjx4UKHUiiA_UQ6AEwA3oECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=mushroom%20metabolism&f=false

Cellulose is not that different from sugar and mushrooms get sugar from it using cellulase and lignase enzymes, although some mushrooms dont have cellulase. https://www.google.fr/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_are_the_nutrients_required_for_the_growth_of_mushrooms_like_oyster_and_shiitake/amp&ved=2ahUKEwj4pLC3m7LdAhWRyIUKHf27DD0QFjACegQICBAB&usg=AOvVaw2b-TTVDZHQBcS8l-TMYmz0&ampcf=1

Its the digestion process is probably a complex physical absorption by the hyphae, so research hyphae structrures, they must be cool. https://www.ck12.org/biology/fungi-nutrition/lesson/How-Fungi-Eat-BIO/


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