The mycelial morphology of Blakeslea trispora was of crucial importance in the production of β-carotene in submerged cultures of B. trispora. After the spores were inoculated, the time-course variation of mycelial morphology was closely examined under the microscope. With the addition of the non-ionic surfactant (Span 20: Sorbitan monolaurate, E493) to the culture medium, a unique pattern of mycelial elongation was observed: 1) slow formation of germ tubes from spores and 2) appearance of mycelia with very short length, which allowed a well-dispersed growth of B. trispora without significant pellet aggregation. Span 20 appears to act like a paramorphogen. Without Span 20, however, the fungal culture finally formed a big clump of mycelium owing to heavy cross-linking of long mycelia. But the short mycelium maintained in the course of cultivation seemed to be irrelevant to growth inhibition, because the final concentration of dry mycelium was much higher with Span 20 after 3-day cultivation. The 20-fold increase in specific yield of β-carotene (mg β-carotene produced per g mycelium) was achieved with this drastic change in the pattern of mycelial elongation. The reason for this result might be more effective mass transfer and/or enhanced sensitivity to environmental oxidative stress in the well-dispersed mycelial cultures of B. trispora.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology