Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Workhorse Aspergillus Niger

Aspergillus Niger is a fungus and one of the most common species of the genus Aspergillus. It causes a disease called black mold on certain fruits and vegetables such as grapes, onions, and peanuts, and is a common contaminant of food. It is ubiquitous in soil and is commonly reported from indoor environments, where its black colonies can be confused with those of Stachybotrys (species of which have also been called "black mold").

Aspergillus Niger represents the most efficient, highest yielding bioprocess for the production of citric acid in practice. This process is a model for other filamentous fungal fermentation processes
for the production of multiple products such as organic acids and ethanol, from renewable biomass. These products can be further refined for use as plastic monomers, solvents, or fuels, thereby decreasing dependence on petroleum, the traditional source of these products.

As a common member of the microbial communities found in soils, A. Niger also plays a significant role in the global carbon cycle. It is a soil saprobe with a wide array of hydrolytic and oxidative enzymes involved in the breakdown of plant lignocellulose. An increased understanding of the molecular mechanisms controlling carbon flux in fungi will be gained from study of the A. Niger genome. Finally, A. niger is an important model fungus for the study of eukaryotic protein secretion in general, the effects of various environmental factors on suppressing or triggering the export of various biomass degrading enzymes, molecular mechanisms critical to fermentation process development, and mechanisms involved in the control of fungal morphology.

Sources: Wikipedia, JGI Joint Genome Institute

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