|Micrograph of A. niger grown on Sabouraud agar|
|Details of the head|
van Tieghem 1867
Aspergillus niger var. niger
It causes a disease called "black mold" on certain fruits and vegetables such as grapes, apricots, 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").
Some strains of A. niger have been reported to produce potent mycotoxins called ochratoxins; other sources disagree, claiming this report is based upon misidentification of the fungal species. Recent evidence suggests some true A. niger strains do produce ochratoxin A. It also produces the isoflavone orobol.
Aspergillus niger is included in Aspergillus subgenus Circumdati, section Nigri. The section Nigri includes 15 related black-spored species that may be confused with A. niger, including A. tubingensis, A. foetidus, A. carbonarius, and A. awamori. In 2004 a number of morphologically similar species were described by Samson et al.
In 2007 the strain of ATCC 16404 Aspergillus niger was reclassified as Aspergillus brasiliensis (refer to publication by Varga et al.). This has required an update to the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and the European Pharmacopoeia which commonly use this strain throughout the pharmaceutical industry.
Aspergillus niger causes sooty mold on onions and ornamental plants. Infection of onion seedlings by A. niger can become systemic, manifesting only when conditions are conducive. A. niger causes a common postharvest disease of onions, in which the black conidia can be observed between scales of the bulb. The fungus can also cause disease in peanuts and grapes.
Human and animal disease
Aspergillus niger is rarely reported to cause pneumonia compared to other Aspergillus species, such as Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Aspergillus terreus. In extremely rare instances, humans may become ill due to a serious lung disease known as aspergillosis. Aspergillosis is particularly frequent among horticultural workers who often inhale peat dust, which can be rich in Aspergillus niger spores. The fungus has also been found in ancient Egyptian mummies and can be inhaled when they are disturbed.
A. niger under a Foldscope
Aspergillus niger is cultured for the industrial production of many substances. Various strains of A. niger are used in the industrial preparation of citric acid (E330) and gluconic acid (E574), and have been assessed as acceptable for daily intake by the World Health Organization. A. niger fermentation is "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) by the United States Food and Drug Administration under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. A. niger is also considered as a potential alternative source of natural food grade pigments.
Many useful enzymes are produced using industrial fermentation of A. niger. For example, A. niger glucoamylase ( ) is used in the production of high-fructose corn syrup, and pectinases (GH28) are used in cider and wine clarification. Alpha-galactosidase (GH27), an enzyme that breaks down certain complex sugars, is a component of Beano and other products that decrease flatulence. Another use for A. niger within the biotechnology industry is in the production of magnetic isotope-containing variants of biological macromolecules for NMR analysis. Aspergillus niger is also cultured for the extraction of the enzyme, glucose oxidase ( ), used in the design of glucose biosensors, due to its high affinity for β-D-glucose.
Aspergillus niger can grow in gold-mining solutions contained cyano-metal complexes with gold, silver, copper, iron, and zinc. The fungus also plays a role in the solubilization of heavy-metal sulfides. A. niger has also been shown to be able to remediate acid mine drainage through biosorption of copper and manganese. Alkali-treated A. niger binds to silver to 10% of dry weight. Silver biosorption occurs by stoichiometric exchange with Ca(II) and Mg(II) of the sorbent.
|NCBI genome ID|
|Genome size||34 Mb|
|Number of chromosomes||8|
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