SUMMARY: Mycelial fungi generate endogenous electrical fields which are associated with polarized tip growth. Here we show that applied electrical fields can dramatically affect the polarity of growth of a variety of filamentous fungi including and The precise behaviour of each fungus when exposed to an electric field was different; however the sites of germ tube formation and branching, the direction of hyphal extension and the frequency of branching and germination could all be affected. and grew and formed branches towards the anode while and exhibited tropisms towards the cathode. Galvanotropism of hyphae and branches of was in opposite directions. Germ tube formation from conidia of was highly polarized in electrical fields whereas fields of a similar strength had little effect on the polarity of germ tube formation in Hyphae became aligned perpendicularly as they grew longer and as the field strength increased. It is suggested that this perpendicularly orientated extension relieves growth-inhibiting perturbations of the membrane potential in cells which had been aligned parallel to the field. These results are discussed in relation to the hypothesis that the polarity of hyphal growth is under electrical control.


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