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Actinomucor elegans (Eidam) C. R. Benj. & Hesselt.









Distribution: all over the world

Actinomucor is a type of common mold, and can be isolated easily from the soil and air. This species of fungi belongs to the class of Zygomycetes, and is a member of the Mucorales (Mucoraceae division). The genus of Actinomucor elegans is the representative species of the Actinomucor class fungi. It has long, slender non-segmented and poly-nucleated hypae. Sporangia are formed during asexual reproduction, while thick-walled zygospores are formed during sexual reproduction. This class of fungi is characterized by having rhizoids, stolons and short branches of sporophores under the apex sporangia. While morphologically similar to the Mucor family, the Actinomucor differs by having (1) stolons, and (2) rhizoids and sporophores deriving from the rhizoids. The Actinomucor share its similarity with the Rhizopus and Absidia of the same family by having stolons, but differ in the forms and types of columella and sporophores.

This species of fungi is used to produce fermented bean curds (sufu, or soybean cheese). The soybean cheese is a food product produced by fermentation of soy proteins with mold fungi. There are many types of mold fungi that can be used to produce sufu; when the mold is growing on the tofu, its hyphae produces enzymes that gradually break down the protein and lipid components of the tofu. These fermentation by-products are the source of sufu’s sweet and peculiar flavors. The hyphae of the A. elegans are white when grown on the tofu, tightly bundled and firmly rooted. The sufu produced from this mold are flavorful and smooth textured, making it an excellent fungi choice for making sufus.

Culture study

This species can be grown in between 18℃-40℃, with the optimal temperature being 30℃. Growth is inhibited by strong light, and it is best cultured in the dark. Optimal pH range is between pH3.5 to 9, but it grows best at pH 7.0. It grows best in 72.6-98% relative humidity. Cultures best on shakers than stationary incubators.


National Museum of Natural Science