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Review
, 98 (2), 555-61

Taxonomic Re-Evaluation of Black Koji Molds

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Review

Taxonomic Re-Evaluation of Black Koji Molds

Seung-Beom Hong et al. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol.

Abstract

Black koji molds including its albino mutant, the white koji mold, have been widely used for making the distilled spirit shochu in Northeast Asia because they produce citric acid which prevents undesirable contamination from bacteria. Since Inui reported Aspergillus luchuensis from black koji in Okinawa in 1901, many fungal names associated with black koji molds were reported. However, some species are similar and differentiation between species is difficult. Fungal taxonomists tried to arrange a taxonomic system for black koji molds, but the results were not clear. Recently, multi-locus sequence typing has been successfully used to taxonomy of black Aspergillus. According to β-tubulin and calmodulin gene sequences, black koji molds can be subdivided in three species, A. luchuensis, Aspergillus niger, and Aspergillus tubingensis. Aspergillus awamori, Aspergillus kawachii, Aspergillus inuii, Aspergillus nakazawai, and Aspergillus coreanus are synonyms of A. luchuensis, Aspergillus batatae, Aspergillus aureus (or Aspergillus foetidus), Aspergillus miyakoensis, and Aspergillus usamii (including A. usamii mut. shirousamii) are synonyms of A. niger and Aspergillus saitoi and A. saitoi var. kagoshimaensis are synonyms of A. tubingensis. A. luchuensis mut. kawachii was suggested particular names for A. kawachii because of their industrial importance. The history and modern taxonomy of black koji molds is further discussed.

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