Nutritional influence on fungal colony growth and biomass distribution in response to toxic metals

Geoffrey Michael Gadd (Lead / Corresponding author), Lynn Ramsay, John W. Crawford, Karl Ritz

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    50 Citations (Scopus)


    This work examines nutritional influence on fungal colony growth and biomass distribution in response to toxic metals. In low-substrate solid medium, 0.1 mM Cd, Cu and Zn caused a decrease in radial expansion of both Trichoderma viride and Rhizopus arrhizus. However, as the amount of available carbon source (glucose) increased, the apparent toxicity of the metals decreased. These metals also affected the overall length of the fungal mycelium and branching patterns. In low-nutrient conditions, T. viride showed a decrease in overall mycelial length and number of branches in response to Cu, resulting in an extremely sparsely branched colony. Conversely, although Cd also reduced overall mycelial length to about one-third of the control length, the number of branches decreased only slightly which resulted in a highly branched colony with many aberrant features. Cu and Cd induced similar morphological changes in R. arrhizus. A large-scale mycelial-mapping technique showed that disruption of normal growth by Cu and Cd resulted in altered biomass distribution within the colony. When grown on metal-free low-substrate medium, T. viride showed an even distribution of biomass within the colony with some allocation to the periphery. However, Cu caused most of the biomass to be allocated to the colony periphery, while in the presence of Cd, most biomass was located at the interior of the colony. These results imply that such alterations of growth and resource allocation by Cu and Cd may influence success in locating nutrients as well as survival, and that these metals have individual and specific effects on the growing fungus.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)311-316
    Number of pages6
    JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2001


    • Cadmium
    • Copper
    • Fungal colony
    • Fungal nutrition
    • Hyphal growth
    • Rhizopus arrhizus
    • Toxic metals
    • Trichoderma viride
    • Zinc

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Microbiology
    • Molecular Biology
    • Genetics


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