[Mycology] Culturing Rhizopus or other Zygomycota

Fred M. Rhoades via mycology%40net.bio.net (by fmrhoades from comcast.net)
Wed Dec 12 14:34:14 EST 2007

I have a set of questions that I have been wondering about for many years.

What do folks do for presenting the Zygomycota to introductory 
biology college students?
Which culture source(s) work best?  (which genus and which supply 
firm)  Anyone use Mucor?
Which agar medium?

For many years we have been depending on biological supply house 
cultures of mating strains (+/-) of Rhizopus stolonifer.  On PDA, 
these cultures always produce an overabundance of  asexual sporangia 
and the zygosporangia are mixed in with the aerial hyphae and asexual 
sporangia, not arranged in a tidy row between the two strains (as I 
remember from my first mycology course long ago - but maybe that 
wasn't Rhizopus).  We have tried Phycomyces but the asexual 
sporangium production is skimpy, and the protective antler-like 
structures surrounding the zygosporangia interfere with true 
understanding of the sexual reproductive process.  Our lab preparator 
has expressed some concern about the use of Mucor, because of its 
association with respiratory diseases.

Fred M. Rhoades, Biology
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA 

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