Pigmentation

A century ago, F.A.F.C. Went (father of the plant physiologist F.W. Went, discoverer of the plant growth hormone auxin) was stationed at the Bogor Botanic Gardens on the island of Java in Indonesia and noted that Oidium aurantiacus growing on bread developed an orange color in the daylight but remained white when grown in darkness. (This fungus was later renamed Neurospora sitophila) To determine the active wavelength of light that induced pigmentation in this fungus, Went used a double-walled glass jar filled with different colored salt solutions that absorbed light of different wavelengths and acted as a light filter. He discovered that blue light was the active region of the spectrum that induced pigmentation. In Neurospora, the formation of conidia and protoperithecia and the phototropism of the perithecial neck are also blue-light responses.

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