Fatty acid content of membranes of Phytophthora cinnamomi in cholesterol supplemented media

Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands, a root pathogen of worldwide importance, is a member of a family of fungi that lacks the ability to synthesize sterols. Sterols are considered important as hormones, membrane structure stabilizers, and steroid precursors. The effect of cholesterol on growth, asexual reproduction, total fatty acid content and fatty acid content of polar lipids of vegetative and asexually reproducing cultures was studied. Cholesterol supplementation was shown to enhance growth and sporulation. Levels of total fatty acids, myristic acid (14:0) and linoleic acid (18:2) were shown to increase while palmitic acid (16:0) decreased with increasing amounts of cholesterol supplementation. No recognizable trends were observed in the fatty acid content of the polar lipid fraction of vegetative or sporulating mycelia, though definite rearrangements occurred with increasing levels of cholesterol supplementation. Sporulation response also increased as concentration of cholesterol supplementation increased.

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