, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 508-515

Cultural characteristics and extraction of the fungal pigment phleichrome from the phytopathogenic fungusCladosporium phlei

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The cultural characteristics of the fungusCladosporium phlei were assessed in order to develop an improved method for the production of the fungal pigment, phleichrome, which is an intermediate in the production of a photodynamic therapeutic agent. The growth ofC. phlei, as measured by the hyphal growth rate and increase in biomass, varies significantly depending on the culture media utilized (V8 juice-based medium proved optimal for both growth rate and biomass increase). How-ever, even on a V8 juice plate, the growth ofC. phlei occurred slowly and in a limited fashion, in that the colony covered only 75% of the agar surface after more than 4 weeks of cultivation at 20°C. Supplementations of glucose, fructose, galactose, and sucrose increased both hyphal expansion and mass production, whereas supplementations of other carbon sources, including glycerol and sorbitol, exerted no detectable effects. The effect of inorganic nitrogen supplementation was negligible, whereas organic nitrogen evidenced significant effects, with enhanced growth with malt extract and growth inhibition with yeast extract and tryptone. Sporulation was enhanced under conditions of continuous light, and a minimum of 103 spores per mL of liquid media was found to be necessary for the optimal mass increase. A simple extraction procedure was established in order to isolate the deep red pigment which was subsequently identified as phleichrome via NMR analysis. WhenC. phlei was cultured on V8 medium containing 5% glucose and 2% malt extract, the quantity of mycelial mass was estimated as 20.6 g (dry weight) per liter of culture. The expected phleichrome yields from the mycelia and culture filtrates were estimated to be 43 and 2 mg/L, repectively.

There was an equal contribution of the reported research by the first two authors.