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Sci Rep. 2015 Aug 11;5:12928. doi: 10.1038/srep12928.

Subsurface pressure profiling: a novel mathematical paradigm for computing colony pressures on substrate during fungal infections.

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Integrated Material Assessment and Predictive Simulation Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.


Colony expansion is an essential feature of fungal infections. Although mechanisms that regulate hyphal forces on the substrate during expansion have been reported previously, there is a critical need of a methodology that can compute the pressure profiles exerted by fungi on substrates during expansion; this will facilitate the validation of therapeutic efficacy of novel antifungals. Here, we introduce an analytical decoding method based on Biot's incremental stress model, which was used to map the pressure distribution from an expanding mycelium of a popular plant pathogen, Aspergillus parasiticus. Using our recently developed Quantitative acoustic contrast tomography (Q-ACT) we detected that the mycelial growth on the solid agar created multiple surface and subsurface wrinkles with varying wavelengths across the depth of substrate that were computable with acousto-ultrasonic waves between 50 MHz-175 MHz. We derive here the fundamental correlation between these wrinkle wavelengths and the pressure distribution on the colony subsurface. Using our correlation we show that A. parasiticus can exert pressure as high as 300 KPa on the surface of a standard agar growth medium. The study provides a novel mathematical foundation for quantifying fungal pressures on substrate during hyphal invasions under normal and pathophysiological growth conditions.

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