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Abstract

Aspergillus oryzae, Mucor mucedo, and Phycomyces blakesleeanus cultures were examined as sources of chitin/chitosan. The nitrogen content of the alkali-treated mycelia/sporangiophores of A. oryzae, M. mucedo, and P. blakesleeanus was 2.52, 3.61, and 6.27% w/w, which relates to an estimated chitin content of 37, 52, and 91%, respectively. The effect of these fungal materials on the rate of proliferation of human F1000 fibroblasts in culture was examined. At 0.01% w/v, all three materials exhibited significant (P<.05) proproliferant activity over a period of 13 days. However, at 0.05% w/v, P. blakesleeanus further enhanced cell proliferation, whereas A. oryzae and M. mucedo produced a significant (P<.05) antiproliferant effect. Higher concentrations of P. blakesleeanus (0.1 and 0.5%) caused marked inhibition of F1000 cell proliferation when measured on days 3 and 6. Only the proproliferant effect of these fungal materials appears to correlate to their chitin content. Furthermore, the cytomorphology of the fibroblasts indicated that P. blakesleeanus, and to a lesser extent M. mucedo, possessed cell attractant properties, again correlating with chitin content. If developed for use as wound management materials, the sporangiophores of P. blakesleeanus and the mycelium of M. mucedo could possibly promote the growth of fibroblasts and provide a matrix for their anchorage, thus contributing to the granulation phase of the healing cascade. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.