Fungi possess a property that is strange when compared to all other micro-organisms: the ability to have a basic microscopic structure (the fiber-like hypha) with a simultaneous tendency to grow to remarkable dimensions (up to several kilograms), keeping unchanged the capacity to adapt and reproduce.
From this point of view, therefore, fungi cannot be considered true organisms, but unique cellular parts with the behavior of an organism.
Fungi, during their life cycle, depend on other living beings, which must be exploited in different degrees for their feeding. Of the simple carbohydrates (sugars) needed include monosaccarides (glucose, fructose, and mannose). The fungi get these sugars from their hosts by feeding on their oragnic waste, and by directly attacking the host for nourishment.
Fungi show a great variety of reproductive manifestations (sexual, asexual, gemmation; these manifestations can often be observed simultaneously) in order to create spores.
The hyphas somewhat beak-shaped fiber structures allow their penetration of the host tissues.
The production of spores can be so abundant as to always include tens, hundreds, and even thousands of millions of them.
Spores have an immense resistance to external aggression, for they are capable of staying dormant in adverse conditions for many years, while maintaining their regenerative potential.
The shape of the fungus is never defined, for it is imposed by the environment in which the fungus develops.
The partial or total substitution of nourishing substances causes frequent mutations in fungi, and this is further proof of their high adaptability.
When the nutritional conditions are precarious many fungi join with nearby fungi which allows them to explore the available tissue more easily, using more complete physiological processes. This property, which substitutes co-operation for competition, makes them distinct from any other microorganism, and for this reason Buller calls them social organisms.
When a fungus cell gets old or becomes damaged (i.e. by a toxic substance or by a drug) many fungi, whose intercellular dividing walls are provided with a pore, react by transfering the nucleus and cytoplasm of the damaged cell into a healthy one, thus conserving unaltered all their biological potential.
The phenomena regulating the development of hyphas is independent of the regulating action and behaviour of the rest of the colony.
Fungi are capable of implementing an infinite number of modifications to their own metabolism in order to overcome the defense mechanism of the host. These modifications are implemented through plasmatic and biochemical actions as well as by a size increase and reproduction of the cells that have been attacked.
Fungi are so aggressive as to attack not only plants, animal tissue, food supplies and other fungi, but even protozoa, amoebas and nematodes.
Fungi hunt nematodes, for example, with peculiar hyphal modifications that constitute real mycelial fiber criss-cross, viscose, or ring traps that achieve the immobilization of the worms. In some cases, the aggressive power of fungi is so great as to allow it, with only a cellular ring made up of three units, to tighten in its grip, capture and kill its prey in a short time notwithstanding the prey's desperate struggling.
From the short notations above, therefore, it seems fair to dedicate a greater attention to the world of fungi, especially considering the fact that biologists and microbiologists constantly highlight large deficiencies and voids in all their descriptions and interpretations of the fungi's shape, physiology and reproduction.
The fungus is the most powerful and the most organized micro-organism known.
The greatest disease of mankind may therefore hide within the small cluster of pathogenic fungi, and may be after all be located with just some simple deductions able to close the circle and provide the solution.
Therefore an exceptionally high and diversified pathogenic potentiality exists in this fungal fiber of just a few microns in size, which, even though it cannot be traced with present experimental instruments, cannot be neglected from the clinical point of view. Certainly, its present disease classification cannot be satisfactory, because if we do not keep the possibly endless parasitic configurations in mind, that classification is too simplistic and constraining.
We therefore have to hypothesize that Candida, in the moment it is attacked by the immune system of the host or by a conventional antifungal treatment, does not react in the usual, predicted way, but defends itself by transforming itself into ever-smaller and non-differentiated elements that maintain their prolific reproductiveness intact to the point of hiding their presence both to the host organism and to possible diagnostic investigations.
The Candida's behavior may be considered to be almost elastic:
When favourable conditions exist, it thrives on epithelium (a surface such as the inner surface of intestines); as soon as the tissue reaction is engaged, it massively transforms itself into a form that is less productive but impervious to attack -- the spore.
If then continuous sub-surface anti-fungal solutions take place coupled with a greater reactivity, in that very moment the spores go deeper into the lower connective tissue in a well defended impervious state.
In this way, Candida is free to expand to maturation in the soil, air, water, vegetation, etc., that is, wherever there is no antibody reaction.
In the epithelium, instead, it takes a mixed form, that is reduced to the sole spore component when it penetrates in the lower epithelial levels, where it tends to expand again.
Candida has been studied only in a pathogenic context, that is, only in relation to the epithelial tissues. In reality Candida possesses an aggressive ability that is diversified in response to the target tissue. It is just in the connective or in the connective environment, in fact, and not in the differentiated tissues, that Candida may find conditions favourable to an unlimited expansion. This emerges if we stop and reflect for a moment on the main function of connective tissue, which is to convey and supply nourishing substances to the cells of the whole organism. This is to be considered as an environment external to the more differentiated cells such as nervous, muscular, etc. It is in this context, in fact, that the competition for food takes place. On one hand we have the organism's cellular elements trying to defeat all forms of invasion; on the other hand, we have fungal cells trying to absorb ever-growing quantities of nourishing substances.
Candida goes deeper into the sub-epithelial levels from which it can be carried to the whole organism through the blood and lymph (intimate mycosis). Stages one and two are the most studied and known, while stage three, though it has been described in its morphological diversity, is reduced to a silent form of saprophytism (obtaining food by absorbing dissolved organic material).
This is not acceptable from a logical point of view, because no one can demonstrate the harmlessness of the fungal cells in the deepest parts of the organism. In fact, the assumption that Candida can behave in the same saprophytic manner that is observed on epitheliums when it has successfully penetrated the lower levels is at least risky.
In fact, we ask you to not accept the theory that the connective environment is (a) not suitable to nourish the Candida, but also at the same time to not accept (b) the belief in the omnipotence of the body's defense system towards an organic structure that is invasive but that then supposedly becomes vulnerable once lodged in the deeper tissues.
As to point a), it is difficult to imagine that a micro-organism so able to adapt itself to any sub-strata cannot find elements to support itself in the human organic substance; by the same token, it seems risky to hypothesis that the human organism's defense system is totally efficient at every moment of its existence.
Finally, the assumption that there is a tendency toward a state of vulnerability in the case of this pathogenic fungus -- the most invasive and aggressive microorganism existing in nature -- seems to carry a whiff of irresponsibility.
It is therefore urgent, on the basis of the above-mentioned considerations, to recognize the hazardous nature of such a pathogenic agent, which is capable of easily taking on a variety of biological configurations, both biochemical and structural, in response to the current environment of the host organism.
The fungal expansion in fact becomes greater as the host tissue becomes less nutritious to the candida, and thus less reactive against it.