Plant Pathology Department


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Bacteriology Vol. 88, No. 1, p. 114-121. Copyright © 1964 American Society for Microbiology. Used by permission.


Changes in the biochemical constituents of cells were studied during the growth and development of Penicillium atrovenetum. Growth of the fungus, as measured by the dry weight, could be divided into four phases: lag, log, stationary, and death. The percentages of total nitrogen, cold trichloroacetic acid-soluble nitrogen, ribonucleic acid (RNA), and protein increased to a maximum during the lag phase, and subsequently decreased as the fungus aged. The percentage of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was always slightly higher in the spores than in the mycelium. The DNA in the mycelium decreased in the lag phase, and then increased slightly to a plateau for the duration of the log phase, followed by a decrease to a constant percentage during the stationary and death phases. Carbohydrates were present in higher concentration in the mycelium than in the spores. The percentage of carbohydrates in the mycelium increased continually until it reached a maximum late in the log phase, and then decreased as the fungus entered the death phase. The results reported for this fungus are, in general, in agreement with those reported for other microorganisms. Namely, the percentages of enzyme-forming compounds, such as amino acids, nucleotides, RNA, and protein, were highest in the lag phase, whereas storage compounds such as carbohydrates increased to a maximum near the end of the log phase. The definition of log phase in fungi depends on the criteria that are used. If, instead of using the linear increase in dry weight to delimit this growth period, one uses the end of net protein, RNA, and DNA synthesis, a more realistic concept of growth emerges.