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Jumping fungus

P. A. Defossez pad at mit.edu
Wed Jun 11 17:32:49 EST 1997

Thanks to all of you who responded to my letter. This is what we know 
about the organism:

It is most likely Sporobolomyces salmonicolor, a yeast known to produce 
"ballistospores". There is a picture of it at 

This is what I have ascertained about its behaviour so far.

* it grows best at 30 degrees celsius

* no spores are released on rich nutrient broth after 24 h growth. Only 
simple budding growth is observed.

* the ballistic response is induced by a lack of nutrients (but not 
carbon or nitrogen).

* tranferral of cells from rich medium to a synthetic minimal medium 
(especially one that contains all amino acids) leads to massive 'spore' 
generation.  Almost every cells produces a ballistospore in 2 hours - 
spores are thrown after 2.5 h. It is impressive to watch.

* Complete YPD Saccharomyces cerevisiae medium induces a meager 
ballistic response: the response is delayed 7 h and 'spores' are not 
thrown as far.

* S. cerevisiae sporulation medium (low nutrient/acetate C-source) 
induces a pseudohyphal stage - but not "ballistospores".


A. What is known about the mechanism of launching spores. Is it a 
torsional stress like in plant seed pods or is it an active (actin?) 
A Medline search only found  theoretical papers from 1968 and 72.

B. Is this a diploid organism woth a haploid stage?

David Sinclair

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