Modelling colony population growth in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans

Danna R. Gifford, Sijmen E. Schoustra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Filamentous fungi are ubiquitous in nature and have high societal significance, being both major (food-borne) pathogens and important industrial organisms in the production of antibiotics and enzymes. In addition, fungi are important model organisms for fundamental research, such as studies in genetics and evolutionary biology. However, mechanistic models for population growth that would help understand fungal biology and fundamental processes are almost entirely missing. Here we present such a mechanistic model for the species Aspergillus nidulans as an exemplar of models for other filamentous fungi. The model is based on physiological parameters that influence colony growth, namely mycelial growth rate and sporulation rate, to predict the number of individual nuclei present in a colony through time. Using population size data for colonies of differing ages, we find that our mechanistic model accurately predicts the number of nuclei for two growth environments, and show that fungal population size is most dependent on changes in mycelial growth rate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-130
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Early online date2 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2013


  • filamentous fungi
  • Aspergillus nidulans
  • population growth
  • evolutionary biology
  • mechanistic model


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