Monitoring of morphological development of the arachidonic-acid-producing filamentous microorganism Mortierella alpina
Morphological parameters, such as hyphal growth rate, tip formation rate, tip extension rate and branch formation rate, of Mortierella alpina have been measured using a flow-through chamber under 25 different combinations of carbon and nitrogen concentrations. Morphological parameters were influenced not by C/N ratio but by carbon concentration in the medium. Specific rates of hyphal growth and tip formation both remained constant at a low carbon concentration of 5 g/l. Tip extension rate from one tip was 60 µm tip–1 h–1 at a carbon concentration below 15 g/l, and the branching formation rate was independent of carbon concentration. Tip extension rate was a function of specific hyphal growth rate, which in turn was linearly proportional to the specific tip formation rate, demonstrating that tip extension rate was exponentially proportional to the specific tip formation rate. Branch formation rate per hyphal element remained unchanged even at tip extension rates lower than 60 µm tip–1 h–1 and at specific hyphal growth rates lower than 0.83 h–1, but decreased drastically at higher rates of tip extension and hyphal growth.
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