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Two water molds can grow without measurable turgor pressure


The water molds Achlya bisexualis Coker and Saprolegnia ferax (Gruithuisen) Thuret (Class: Oomycetes) normally grow in the form of slender hyphae with up to 0.8 MPa (8 bar) of internal pressure. Models of plant cell growth indicate that this turgor pressure drives the expansion of the cell wall. However, under conditions of prolonged osmotic stress, these species were able to grow in the absence of measurable turgor. Unpressurized cells of A. bisexualis grew in the form of a plasmodium-like colony on solid media, and produced a multinucleate yeast-like phase in liquid. By contrast, the morphology of S. ferax was unaffected by the loss of turgor, and the mold continued to generate tip-growing hyphae. Measurements of cell wall strength indicate that these microorganisms produce a very fluid wall in the region of surface growth, circumventing the usual requirement for turgor.

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Correspondence to Nicholas P. Money.

Additional information

This work was supported by National Science Foundation grant DCB 90-17130.

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Money, N.P., Harold, F.M. Two water molds can grow without measurable turgor pressure. Planta 190, 426–430 (1993).

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Key words

  • Achlya
  • Apical growth
  • Hypha
  • Osmotic pressure
  • Saprolegnia
  • Turgor pressure