Mortierella isabellina and Cunninghamella echinulata were cultivated on glucose-, pectin-, starch- and lactose-based media. Culture on glucose at two initial C/N ratios favored lipid synthesis in the media with increased C/N. Starch was an adequate substrate for both molds, but lipid (in g/g of biomass) was produced in lower quantities compared with the glucose trial. Pectin was inadequate for C. echinulata whereas growth of M. isabellina was satisfactory (8.4 g/L), followed by moderate lipid production. Growth of C. echinulata on lactose was negligible, while that of M. isabellina was notable (9.5 g/L) although lipid in biomass was only 0.36 g/g. Hydrolytic enzymes (alpha-amylase, polygalacturonase and (beta-galactosidase) activities of both strains seemed to be low enough to saturate their metabolic capabilities. This seemed a major cause for the lower amount of lipid accumulated during growth on complex media compared with that on glucose. Cellular fatty acids of M. isabellina were oleic, linoleic and palmitic acid, while gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) was produced in low quantities. In C. echinulata grown on glucose, lactose or starch, GLA concentration was notable at the beginning and end of culture. Growth on pectin at the first growth steps was accompanied by the production of saturated fatty acids, the amount of which decreased thereafter.
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