InterJournal Complex Systems, 579
Status: Accepted
Manuscript Number: [579]
Submission Date: 20606
Revised On: 20606
Fungal colony patterning as an example of biological self-organization
Author(s): Elena Bystrova ,Evgenia Bogomolova ,Anton Bulianitsa ,Ludmila Panina ,Vladimir Kurochkin

Subject(s): CX.3, CX.1

Category: Article


One of the interesting examples of biological self-organization is the formation of different spatiotemporal patterns in colonies of microorganisms such as bacteria, myxomycete Dyctiostelium discoideum and fungi. We consider four main types of stationary dissipative structures, which can arise in colonies of mycelial fungi - periodic rings (zones), sparse and dense "lawn" (continuous mycelial growth), ramified (fractal-like) structures. We investigate conditions required in order for patterns to appear and explain how changes in fungal environment influence the morphology of the colony, or, in other words, how the system interacts with its environment. The experimental data obtained enable us to construct a morphological diagram which demonstrates the morphological change due to environmental conditions (in our case, we varied two parameters - nutrient concentration and agar medium thickness). It has been suggested to consider fungal colony development as being determined by two simultaneous processes - consumption of substrate (activator) and production of diffusible metabolites (growth inhibitors). On the basis of proposed mechanism we developed a mathematical model for description of observed non-linear phenomena in colonies of imperfect fungi. In computational experiments we have revealed ranges of parameters in which the formation of zones and continuous mycelial growth occur. In particular, metabolite diffusion coefficient was shown to be one of the main parameters defining the colony morphology. By means of the model and experimental results we have estimated the value of the given coefficient.

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