What Makes Fungi Different from Bacteria?

differences between bacteria and fungi

Although the diseases caused by bacteria and fungi often present themselves with similar symptoms, these two types of organisms are different in many ways. Making the distinction between bacterial and fungal infections is crucial, as the type of your infection will determine the type of treatment you’ll receive.

In this article, we will be going over the main differences between bacteria and fungi.

Different Types of Organisms

Bacteria are prokaryotes – single-celled microbes that lack a nucleus, mitochondria, or membrane-bound organelles. Although they are single-celled, they can often form clusters or chains.

On the other hand, fungi are a bit more complicated. They are eukaryotes, which means their cells have a well-defined nucleus and organelles enclosed within membranes. They range from single-celled organisms (yeast) to complex multicellular organisms (mushrooms).

Multiplication and Growth

Bacteria reproduce using a process called binary fission – an asexual form of reproduction when a body separates into two new bodies. This process is very quick and enables the bacteria to multiply fast, which is why infections like meningococcal meningitis progress so rapidly.

Fungi multiply slower and by a more complicated process called budding, while more complex fungi can use sexual forms of reproduction. Slower growth and the complexity of their replication process means that fungal infections usually need longer treatment.


One of the most important differences between bacteria and fungi are the infections they cause. Bacteria are usually responsible for more serious infections like bloodstream infections and pneumonia. Serious fungal infections are much rarer – most fungal infections are superficial like ringworm, jock itch, and athlete’s foot.

Bacterial and fungal infections require different treatments – bacteria usually respond to antibiotics, while fungal infections are treated with topical or oral antifungal medication.


We hope this article helps you understand the differences between bacteria and fungi. Remember, although they may look similar, it’s important to determine whether bacteria or fungi cause your infection. Only then will you be able to treat the infection properly.