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J Basic Microbiol. 2019 Jun;59(6):658-664. doi: 10.1002/jobm.201800594. Epub 2019 Apr 23.

The life cycles of two species of Myxomycetes in Physarales, Physarum rigidum and Didymium squamulosum.

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Engineering Research Centre of Chinese Ministry of Education for Edible and Medicinal Fungi, College of Agronomy, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun, Jilin Province, China.
Directorate: Inspection Services, South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Pretoria, South Africa.


Myxomycetes are eukaryotic microorganisms containing characteristics akin to both fungi and amoebae. They can complete their whole life cycles while being cultured on agar media, and under-laboratory conditions, which favors taxonomic, phylogenetic, and cytological researches. Here, we describe the life cycles of two such species: Didymium squamulosum collected from the field and Physarum rigidum cultured from moist chamber both belonging to the Order Physarales. Three per cent oat-agar media (OAM) was used to culture the plasmodia until they aggregated and were almost starved. Natural light was then applied to the plasmodia to induce fructification. Their life cycles share the same common stages, namely: spore, myxamoebae, swarm cell, plasmodia, and sporulation. In this study, we describe the morphogenesis from spore to spore of two species by differential interference contrast (DIC) and stereoscopic microscopies, as well as discuss the differences between the development of both species and interspecies. We found that the spore germination method of both species was the same. However, there were differences noted in time taken and fruiting body formation. Unlike P. rigidum, the species D. squamulosum did not require natural light stimulation. Moreover, the maturation process of both species had similar color transitions but exhibited distinct morphology in each developmental stage except during the swarm cell stage.


Physarales; life cycle; morphogenesis; myxomycetes; oat-agar medium (OAM)

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