Industrial enzymes are often produced by filamentous fungi in fed-batch cultivations. During cultivation, the different morphological forms displayed by the fungi have an impact on the overall production. The morphology of a recombinant lipase producing Aspergillus oryzae strain was investigated during fed-batch cultivations. During the exponential batch phase of the fed-batch cultivations, the average hyphal length increased as did the number of tips per hyphal element. Most striking was the finding that the diameter of the hyphal elements increased with an average factor of 1.5 during the batch phase from 2.8-2.9 up to 4.0-4.4 mu m. The diameter of the hyphal elements remained constant, around 4 mu m, after the feed was started. However, the diameter of the immediate hyphal tip, where the enzyme secretion is thought to take place, increased dramatically with up to a factor 2.5 during the feeding period. The expression of the recombinant lipase was induced by the feeding with maltose, and an increase in lipase activity was seen in parallel to a swelling of the tips. The results indicate that the two events are linked as a return to normal growth was observed upon cessation of production due to oxygen limitations.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2006, Vol 70, Issue 4, p. 482-487