Honors College Thesis

 

An Investigation into the Time-Sensitive Color Changing Quality of the Pigment Extracted from Scytalidium ganodermophthorum Public Deposited

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  • Scytalidium ganodermophthorum (Xylogone ganodermophthora) is known as a yellow-pigmenting spalting fungus. However, recent observations have indicated that the dichloromethane-extracted pigment produced by S. ganodermophthorum can vary in color from yellow to green to red to purple, depending on the age of the fungus at harvesting. The timeline and mechanisms behind this change are as of yet unknown. For this study, two strains of S. ganodermophthorum were plated on malt-agar-woodchip plates, extracted using dichloromethane (DCM), and analyzed using a colorimeter. Plates were harvested every week over a planned period of 36 weeks, however, the spread of Covid-19 prevented the investigation from being completed. Results showed a visually observable color change from pale yellow to bright yellow to green. A black phenotypic mutation was observed producing pigment crystals under DCM extraction. Crystal production has not been reported in this strain prior, however, the closely related species S. cuboideum also produces crystals. Researchers are keenly interested in crystal production because crystals are a more stable and usable form of pigment compared to liquid. Industrial adoption of fungal pigments has been inhibited by the limited available colors and their inability to be stored as standardized dry pigments. This study indicates that the variety of pigments produced by S. ganodermophthorum and its ability to form crystals, may overcome two of the greatest hurdles preventing its use in manufacturing by creating a wider variety of dye colors and providing a stable storage model.
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