The filamentous fungal genus Aspergillus consists of over 340 officially recognized species. A handful of these Aspergillus fungi are predominantly used for food fermentation and large-scale production of enzymes, organic acids, and bioactive compounds. These industrially important Aspergilli primarily belong to the two major Aspergillus sections, Nigri and Flavi. Aspergillus oryzae (section Flavi) is the most commonly used mold for the fermentation of soybeans, rice, grains, and potatoes. Aspergillus niger (section Nigri) is used in the industrial production of various enzymes and organic acids, including 99% (1.4 million tons per year) of citric acid produced worldwide. Better understanding of the genomes and the signaling mechanisms of key Aspergillus species can help identify novel approaches to enhance these commercially significant strains. This review summarizes the diversity, current applications, key products, and synthetic biology of Aspergillus fungi commonly used in industry.
Keywords: Aspergillus; Cell factories; Food fermentation; Genetic engineering; Industry; Synthetic biology.
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