A microscopy study of hyphal growth of Penicillium rubens on gypsum under dynamic humidity conditions

K.A. van Laarhoven, H.P. Huinink, O.C.G. Adan

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16 Citations (Scopus)
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To remediate indoor fungal growth, understanding the moisture relations of common indoor fungi is crucial. Indoor moisture conditions are commonly quantified by the relative humidity (RH). RH is a major determinant of the availability of water in porous indoor surfaces that fungi grow on. The influence of steady-state RH on growth is well understood. Typically, however, the indoor RH constantly changes so that fungi have to endure frequent periods of alternating low and high RH. Knowledge of how common indoor fungi survive and are affected by the low-RH periods is limited. In particular, the specific effects of a drop in RH on the growth of the mycelium remain unclear. In this work, video microscopy was used to monitor hyphal growth of Penicillium rubens on gypsum substrates under controlled dynamic humidity conditions. The effect of a single period of low RH (RH = 50-90%) interrupting favourable conditions (RH = 97%) was tested. It was found that hyphal tips ceased to extend when exposed to any tested decrease in RH. However, new hyphal growth always emerges, seemingly from the old mycelium, suggesting that this indoor fungus does not rely only on conidia to survive the humidity patterns considered. These findings are a fundamental step in unravelling the effect of RH on indoor fungal growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-418
Number of pages11
JournalMicrobial Biotechnology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


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