Separate effects of moisture content and water activity on the hyphal extension of Penicillium rubens on porous media

Karel A. van Laarhoven, Hendrik P. Huinink, Frank J. J. Segers, Jan Dijksterhuis, Olaf C. G. Adan

    Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    To prevent indoor fungal growth, understanding the moisture relations of fungi is a key element. Indoor moisture is quantified by the relative humidity (RH). RH controls the water activity of the indoor materials that fungi grow on, a well-studied parameter known to limit fungal growth. RH, however, also controls the amount of water present in these materials, the moisture content. The significance of the moisture content of these materials to indoor fungal growth is currently overlooked. In the work reported here, growth experiments with the indoor fungus Penicillium rubens on gypsum substrates were performed to test whether the moisture content influences growth on porous materials. Second, we report the development of a video microscopy method that for the first time quantified hyphal growth on a porous material. It is found that a higher moisture content leads to earlier colonization and higher hyphal extension rates. This is a fundamental step in unravelling the effect of RH on indoor fungal growth. The real-time monitoring of colonization of gypsum provides a new view of growth on indoor surfaces.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5089-5099
    Number of pages11
    JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
    Volume17
    Issue number12
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

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