Ethanol-induced dimorphism and lipid composition changes in Mucor fragilis CCMI 142

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Aims:To study the effect of ethanol on morphology, lipid production and fatty acid profile of Mucor fragilis CCMI 142 cultures.Methods and Results:Cell inhibition in shake flask cultures due to alcohol toxicity grew linearly from 0·418 mol 1−1 to 0·816 mol 1−1 ethanol corresponding to a decrease of specific growth rate. The growth inhibition constant took the value of 2·27 mol 1−1. The germination of fungal spores into hyphae is inhibited by concentrations from 0·418 mol 1−1 to 0·816 mol 1−1 ethanol. In this range, M. fragilis CCMI 142 spores form, exclusively, budding yeast-like cells instead of filaments. Below 0·418 mol 1−1 ethanol the formation of yeast-like cells was stimulated and there was a spore germination delay.Conclusions:The lipid content decreased as the concentration of ethanol increased, and was associated with an increase of unsaturated/saturated fatty acid ratio.Significance and Impact of the Study:The major conclusion of the study is the production of an enriched unsaturated fatty acids final product with particular emphasis to the presence of γ-linolenic acid (18:3ω6) a biologically active compound with a useful impact in nutraceutical science.

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