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Understanding and controlling filamentous growth of fungal cell factories: Novel tools and opportunities for targeted morphology engineering

Meyer, Vera; Cairns, Timothy; Barthel, Lars; King, Rudibert; Kunz, Philipp; Schmideder, Stefan; Müller, Henri; Briesen, Heiko; Dinius, Anna; Krull, Rainer

Filamentous fungal cell factories are efficient producers of platform chemicals, proteins, enzymes and natural products. Stirred-tank bioreactors up to a scale of several hundred m³ are commonly used for their cultivation. Fungal hyphae self-assemble into various cellular macromorphologies ranging from dispersed mycelia, loose clumps, to compact pellets. Development of these macromorphologies is so far unpredictable but strongly impacts productivities of fungal bioprocesses. Depending on the strain and the desired product, the morphological forms vary, but no strain- or product-related correlations currently exist to improve process understanding of fungal production systems. However, novel genomic, genetic, metabolic, imaging and modelling tools have recently been established that will provide fundamental new insights into filamentous fungal growth and how it is balanced with product formation. In this primer, these tools will be highlighted and their revolutionary impact on rational morphology engineering and bioprocess control will be discussed.
Published in: Fungal Biology and Biotechnology, 10.1186/s40694-021-00115-6, Springer Nature