Editor: Richard Staples
Fungal cannons: explosive spore discharge in the Ascomycota
Article first published online: 3 SEP 2007
FEMS Microbiology Letters
Volume 276, Issue 1, pages 12–18, November 2007
How to Cite
Trail, F. (2007), Fungal cannons: explosive spore discharge in the Ascomycota. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 276: 12–18. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2007.00900.x
- Issue published online: 3 SEP 2007
- Article first published online: 3 SEP 2007
- Received 15 June 2007; revised 28 July 2007; accepted 30 July 2007.First published online 3 September 2007.
- turgor pressure;
The ascomycetous fungi produce prodigious amounts of spores through both asexual and sexual reproduction. Their sexual spores (ascospores) develop within tubular sacs called asci that act as small water cannons and expel the spores into the air. Dispersal of spores by forcible discharge is important for dissemination of many fungal plant diseases and for the dispersal of many saprophytic fungi. The mechanism has long been thought to be driven by turgor pressure within the extending ascus; however, relatively little genetic and physiological work has been carried out on the mechanism. Recent studies have measured the pressures within the ascus and quantified the components of the ascus epiplasmic fluid that contribute to the osmotic potential. Few species have been examined in detail, but the results indicate diversity in ascus function that reflects ascus size, fruiting body type, and the niche of the particular species.