High-throughput format for the phenotyping of fungi on solid substrates

David Canovas 1,2 Lena Studt 1 Ana T. Marcos 2 Joseph Strauss 1
1Department of Applied Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Vienna, Austria
2Department of Genetics, University of Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain

Filamentous fungi naturally grow on solid surfaces, yet most genetic and biochemical analyses are still performed in liquid cultures. Here, we report a multiplexing platform using high-throughput photometric continuous reading that allows parallel quantification of hyphal growth and reporter gene expression directly on solid medium, thereby mimicking natural environmental conditions. Using this system, we have quantified fungal growth and expression of secondary metabolite GFP-based reporter genes in saprophytic Aspergillus and phytopathogenic Fusarium species in response to different nutrients, stress conditions and epigenetic modifiers. With this method, we provide not only novel insights into the characteristic of fungal growth but also into the metabolic and time-dependent regulation of secondary metabolite gene expression.