Submerged batch culture of the psychrophile Monographella nivalis in a defined medium; growth, carbohydrate utilization and responses to temperature

Andrew John Cairns, Catherine Howarth, Chris Pollock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An asporogenous strain of the pink snow mould fungus, Monographella nivalis (Schaffnit) E. Müller, anamorph Gerlachia nivalis (Ces. ex Sac.) W. Gams & E. Müller (Syn. Fusarium nivale Ces. ex Sacc.), grew at 5 °C on a denned salts medium plus vitamins and utilized a variety of simple and polymeric carbohydrates as the sole carbon and energy source. Mycelium was grown at temperatures between 3 and 15 °C in aerated submerged fermentation culture in chemically defined medium plus sucrose. Optimum growth rates of 0·035–0·033 h ‐1 occurred between 9 and 12 °C. Growth in a simple medium showed that all biochemical and physiological processes necessary for growth were functional at 3 °C. The growth performance of the organism at low temperatures was no better than would be expected from extrapolation of mesophilic growth responses to temperature. The optimum growth temperature of 9–12°C showed that some biochemical or physiological process was impaired above 12 °C. Uptake and incorporation of 35S‐methionine by mycelium at different temperatures showed that general protein synthesis increased up to 25 °C, and hence was not responsible per se for the sensitivity to temperatures above 12 °C. Heat shock proteins were synthesized at the relatively low temperature of 25 °C, consistent with the low temperature optimum for growth. When grown with sucrose as the sole carbon source, the mycelium catalyzed the extracellular hydrolysis of sucrose, releasing glucose and fructose together with a small amount of fructan trisaccharides and a trace of tetra‐ and penta‐saccharides. Fructan accumulation was transient, corresponding with maximal rates of sucrose hydrolysis. Most biomass formation occurred in the absence of fructan in the culture, hence fructan was not necessary for growth at low temperature and did not appear to function as a cryoprotectant. Invertase activity was mostly (60–70%) bound to mycelium; the remainder was free in the culture supernatant. The regulation of invertase expression appeared to be by sucrose‐induction, rather than by end‐product repression. Rates of sucrose hydrolysis in culture were temperature‐sensitive and were markedly depressed above 12 °C, indicating inhibition of invertase formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-308
Number of pages10
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 1995


  • Cryoprotectant
  • fructan
  • heat shock
  • invertase
  • snow mould


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