Requirements for Fungal Growth

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

Fungi are a large group of living organisms belonging to the fungi kingdom. Explore the characteristics of fungi, learn about reasons to grow fungi, and discover the required conditions to grow yeasts, molds, dimorphic fungi, and dermatophytes. Updated: 01/21/2022

Growing Fungi

It's time to make lunch! You grab the meat out of the refrigerator and the bread from the counter. Uh-oh, there is mold growing on the bread. Without even trying, you successfully grew fungi.

Fungi are unicellular or multicellular, spore-forming organisms that include yeasts, mold, and mushrooms. While your moldy bread fungi growth was an accident, there are scientists that do their best to grow fungi with a purpose in mind. Let's look at some of the requirements for fungal growth based on four different types of fungi.

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Fungi Growth Requirements

Yeasts

Let's start with yeasts. All yeasts are unicellular fungi. They can grow in almost any temperature but exhibit the best growth at 25-30 degrees Celsius and in a moist environment. Yeasts make their food from sugar and other organic materials, so it's important to have this present in the growth medium.

Oxygen is also a requirement for yeasts to carry out their metabolic processes. They can grow in the absence of oxygen since they are facultative anaerobes, but for the best growth, they should be cultured in oxygen. Potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sulfur are all chemical requirements for yeasts to grow effectively. The last things that yeasts need to grow are amino acids, vitamins, and fatty acids.

Molds

Now, let's look at molds. You already learned a little about growing mold since it grew on your bread. Your bread was likely in a warm, moist, dark place. These are some of the requirements to grow mold.

Mold grows best at about 20 degrees Celsius or higher. The warmer their environment, the better they grow. The growth of molds depends heavily on moisture: they need lots of moisture to thrive. Like yeasts, molds depend on organic materials for food; this can be anything from cellulose to sugar to the starch that was in your bread.

Dimorphic Fungi

Now, let's look at dimorphic fungi, which are fungi that are able to switch between being in yeast form and mold form. Just remember that ''di-'' means ''two'' and ''morph'' means ''form.'' It's basically a fungus that has two forms. Their requirements for growth are the same as those we described earlier, based on whether you want the fungi in yeast or mold form.

The only difference comes with temperature. If you want the dimorphic fungi to grow as a yeast, the temperature needs to be between 35 and 37 degrees Celsius. If you want to grow the fungi in mold form, then it needs to be between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius.

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