A study of the various differentiation patterns of the Myxomycete Physarum flavicomum



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Physarum flavicomum variety 1 was cultured in a semi-defined medium developed by Henney and Henney. Hematin and yeast extract were essential for growth of this organism in the semi-defined medium. The organism was harvested at log phase growth and under proper conditions allowed to differentiate into a sclerotial body and a fruiting body. The conditions necessary for differentiation of the organism into its various morphogenetic forms are quite diverse. The sclerotial phase of the organism requires an adequate starvation period following its harvest, coupled with the absence of light. The fruiting body, or spore stage, requires a similar starvation period after its harvest, however a light source is essential if the organism is to complete its differentiation cycle. As well, conditions favoring the formation of the fruiting body stage are much more critical for the sporangium than for the sclerotium. Enzyme assay experiments were performed on the plasmodium as well as the differentiating sclerotium of the organism. The data obtained reveals a definite fluctuation in the activities of LDH, MDH, and G-6- PO4 over time. Disc-gel electrophoresis was performed on the plasmodium and differentiating sclerotium of the organism and found to be positive for the reactions studied. The enzymes tested were LDH, MDH and G-6-PO4. The LDH and G-6-PO4 gave rise to a single band pattern, while the MDH revealed two bands, the mitochondrial form of the enzyme preceding the cytoplasmic. Amino acid analyses on the plasmodium, the spores and the differentiating sclerotium reveals definite morphogenetic alterations in the pool of available amino acid content of the organism against time.