Holographic and single beam optical manipulation of hyphal growth in filamentous fungi

D. R. Burnham*, G. D. Wright, N. D. Read, D. McGloin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


We report on the ability of holographic light fields to alter the normal growth patterns of filamentous fungi. The light fields are produced on a microscopic scale by borrowing methods from the field of optical tweezers, but without the aim of directly trapping or manipulating objects. Extended light fields are shown to redirect and constrict hyphal tip growth, and induce hyphal branching in a highly reproducible manner. The merits of using discrete and continuous light fields produced using a spatial light modulator are discussed and the use of three-dimensional 'pseudowalls' of light to control the growth patterns is reported. We also demonstrate the dependence of hyphal tip growth on the wavelength of light, finding that less power is needed at shorter wavelengths to effect changes in the growth dynamics of fungal hyphae.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberS09
Pages (from-to)S172-S179
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2007


  • Filamentous fungi
  • Holography
  • Hyphal tip growth
  • Micromanipulation
  • Neurospora
  • Optical tweezers


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