Action spectra of the light-growth response of Phycomyces

Peter A. Ensminger, H. Reiner Schaefer, Edward D. Lipson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The light-growth response of Phycomyces blakesleeanus (Burgeff) is a transient change in elongation rate of the sporangiophore caused by a change in light intensity. Previous investigators have found that the light-growth response has many features in common with phototropism; the major difference is that only the light-growth response is adaptive. In order to better understand the light-growth response and its relationship to phototropism, we have developed a novel experimental protocol for determining light-growth-response action spectra and have examined the effect of the reference wavelength and intensity on the shape of the action spectrum. The null-point action spectrum obtained with broadband-blue reference light has a small peak near 400 nm, a flat region from 430 nm to 470 nm, and an approximately linear decline in the logarithm of relative effectiveness above 490 nm. The shape of the action spectrum is different when 450-nm reference light is used, as has been shown previously for the phototropic-balance action spectrum. However, the action spectrum of the light-growth response differs from that for phototropic balance, even when the same reference light (450 nm) is used. Moreover, for the light-growth response, the relative effectiveness of 383-nm light decreases as the intensity of the 450-nm reference light increases; this trend is the opposite of that previously found for phototropic balance. The dependence of the lightgrowth-response action spectrum on the reference wavelength, its difference from the phototropic-balance action spectrum, and the reference-intensity dependence of the relative effectiveness at 383 nm may be attributable to dichroic effects of the oriented photoreceptor(s), and to transduction processes that are unique to the light-growth response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-505
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1991


  • Action spectroscopy
  • Blue light
  • Light-growth response
  • Phycomyces
  • Sporangiophore

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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