The development of filamentous fungi in submerged culture

  • Colin Webb

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


During the 24 hour period following inoculation, aggregation of spores and sporelings can have an important effect on the subsequent growth of filamentous fungi in submerged culture. This early phase of growth does not appear to have received much attention, and it was for this reason that the author's research was started.
The aggregation, germination and early growth of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus niger have been followed in aerated tower fermenters, by microscopic examination. By studying many individual sporelings it has been possible to estimate the specific growth rate and germination times, and then to assess the branching characteristics of the fungus over a period of from 1 to 10 hours after germination. The results have been incorporated into computer models to simulate the development of the physical structure of individual and aggregated sporelings.
Following germination, and an initial rapid growth phase, fungi were found to grow exponentially: in the case of A.niger the mean germination time was about 5 hours and the doubling time was as short as 1.5 hours. Branching also followed an exponential pattern and appeared to be related to hyphal length. Using a simple hypothesis for growth along with empirical parameters, typical fungal structures were generated using the computer models : these compared well with actual sporelings observed under the microscope.
Preliminary work suggested that the techniques used in this research could be successfully applied to a range of filamentous fungi.
Date of AwardSept 1980
Original languageEnglish


  • fungi
  • growth
  • simulation
  • aggregation

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