Aspergillus: a primer for the novice

Med Mycol. 2009;47 Suppl 1:S5-12. doi: 10.1080/13693780802712515. Epub 2009 Feb 27.


Aspergillus is a genus of molds named after the morphological structure that bears asexual spores, the aspergillum, which resembles a liturgical device. This genus contains several species of positive or negative economic importance in industry, agriculture and medicine. The majority of aspergilli, including most species of economic importance, are known to reproduce only by asexual spores. Genome projects have been completed for A. fumigatus, A. nidulans, A. niger and A. oryzae; several other species are also being sequenced. The data from these genome projects have been useful in elucidating aspects of phylogeny, the evolution of sexuality and the extent of secondary metabolite diversity. To date, however, the impact on drug discovery, diagnosis of aspergillosis, and our understanding of fungal pathogenesis has been less pronounced.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillosis / microbiology*
  • Aspergillus / cytology
  • Aspergillus / genetics*
  • Aspergillus / pathogenicity
  • Aspergillus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Virulence