Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Larry Elliott, Lewis Lockwood, Martin Houstin

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Soil samples were screened for organisms which decompose tartaric acid as an energy source. Several microorganisms were isolated which were capable of metabolizing tartaric acid. The organism which grew best was identified as Aspergillus ficuum and used in this study. This organism, when grown in tartrate medium, resulted in a decrease in optical rotation and density of the culture medium. The pH of the culture filtrate increased with a concurrent increase in mycelial weight. Analysis of culture filtrates by gas chromatography indicate that the first intermediate compound detected in tartrate decomposition by A. ficuum is glycolic acid. The terminal metabolite is oxalic acid and there are undoubtedly others in the pathway, but they were not detectable by the methods employed. While working with the organism A. ficuum, it was found that the organism frequently failed to sporulate on various culture media. Sporulation was found to he related to the oxygen concentration to which the organism was exposed. It was found that A. ficuum could sporulate in 5% oxygen hut not in a 3% oxygen atmosphere.


Biology | Life Sciences

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