One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A minute, typically one-celled, reproductive unit capable of giving rise to a new individual without sexual fusion, characteristic of lower plants, fungi, and protozoans.
embryo, bud, nucleus, seed, egg, ovumView synonyms
- ‘Many questions concerning toxicity and allergenicity have been raised about corn contaminated with the spores of this fungus.’
- ‘It reproduces prolifically and produces spores at all stages of its life.’
- ‘Bunt fungi survive as resting spores on contaminated seed.’
- ‘At flowering, the fungus grows through the floral tissue and forms masses of spores in place of healthy seed.’
- ‘Grain mold fungi also produce spores capable of aerial dispersal in the field as well as within a grain storage bin.’
- 1.1Botany (in a plant exhibiting alternation of generations) a haploid reproductive cell which gives rise to a gametophyte.
- ‘When infected flowers or leaves are plucked, a grayish-white cloud of fungal spores can usually be seen.’
- ‘When contaminated seeds are planted, bunt spores germinate in the presence of moisture and infect the wheat seedlings.’
- ‘After landing on a host plant, spores germinate and produce a germ tube that grows across the leaf surface.’
- ‘The gametophyte is haploid, that is, each cell contains a single complete set of chromosomes, and arises from the germination of a haploid spore.’
- ‘A spore can infect a plant and cause a new lesion which will produce spores in 7-10 days.’
- 1.2Microbiology (in bacteria) a rounded resistant form adopted by a bacterial cell in adverse conditions.
- ‘A concentration of just 5 parts per million was adequate to eradicate 50,000 spores under laboratory conditions.’
- ‘In the production of dry milk these bacterial spores are able to survive the spray-drying process.’
- ‘While the spores are not extremely long lived, they could survive this form of movement.’
- ‘The scientists' next step, for most pathogens, is to collect the spores.’
- ‘It is heat-sensitive and dies as it dries, so is a much less attractive weapon than anthrax spores, which are many thousands of times more resistant.’
Mid 19th century: from modern Latin spora, from Greek spora ‘sowing, seed’, from speirein ‘to sow’.
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