Effects of cyproconazole and copper sulphate on the length of the hyphal growth unit (HGU) of the white-rot fungus Coriolus versicolor
D Vesentini, D J Dickinson, R J Murphy
Wood decay basidiomycetes have been shown to produce appreciable quantities of extracellular mucilaginous materials (ECMM). The relationship between ECMM and total biomass production has been investigated in the white-rot fungus Coriolus versicolor (CTB 863 A). Differences in the amount of ECMM produced by the fungus proportionally to the total biomass, were observed under a range of physiological conditions, including the presence of biocides. Such differences suggest that stress may have a role in stimulating an increase in the amount of ECMM produced by C. versicolor.
The rationale behind this study is that the increase in the proportional amount of ECMM produced by the organism under a range of different stress conditions, may be explained by the hypothesis of the Hyphal Growth Unit length (HGU).
The results presented in this paper support the hypothesis that the length of the HGU is strongly related to the environmental conditions. Cyproconazole at 0.1 mmols l-1 in the growth medium, reduced total biomass by approximately 50% and decreased the length of the HGU by approximately 50%. This change in the HGU length reflects a change in the hyphal behaviour to a highly brached mycelial habit. Associated with this was a 100% increase in the proportion of ECMM in relation to the hyphal biomass.
Since ECMM is known to be secreted at the tip of actively growing hyphae, it is hypothesised that by adjusting the length of the HGU, filamentous fungi are able to produce a highly branched mycelium, which leads to the production of high levels of ECMM. This could offer protection against adverse environmental conditions, such as the presence of biocides.
These results are discussed with regard to the possible role(s) of ECMM in the decay process and its interaction with preservative treatments.