Isolation of Aspergillus oryzae mutants producing low levels of 2,4,6-trichloroanisole

J Gen Appl Microbiol. 2022 Jun 20;68(1):24-29. doi: 10.2323/jgam.2021.09.002. Epub 2022 Apr 2.


Musty or moldy off-odor in sake severely reduces its quality. Such off-odor is caused by 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), a compound that is produced by Aspergillus oryzae during sake production by O-methylating the precursor 2,4,6-trichlorophenol (TCP). TCP suppresses the growth of fungi, including A. oryzae, although TCA does not. Therefore, strains that are unable to convert TCP to TCA should be sensitive to TCP in the medium. Nevertheless, A. oryzae with a disrupted O-methyltransferase gene (ΔomtT) grew in a medium containing TCP. In agar medium, we observed no growth difference between the ΔomtT strain and a non-disrupted transformant; however, a significant growth delay was observed with the ΔomtT strain grown in liquid medium containing 0.5 µg/mL of TCP. This strain was more sensitive to low concentrations of TCP, suggesting that omtT contributes to the conversion (detoxification) of TCP in liquid culture. We generated A. oryzae RIB 40 mutants by ultraviolet irradiation and then cultured them in liquid medium containing TCP to obtain strains that did not produce moldy odor. The slow-growing strains were cultured in agar plates and then used to make koji with added TCP. We obtained three strains with lower TCA-producing ability and with sufficient hydrolase activities for sake brewing.

Keywords: 2,4,6-trichloroanisole; 2,4,6-trichlorophenol; Argillus oryzae; O-methyltransferase; musty/moldy off-odor mut; mutant.

MeSH terms

  • Agar
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Anisoles
  • Aspergillus oryzae* / genetics
  • Chlorophenols*
  • Fermentation
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*


  • Anisoles
  • Chlorophenols
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • 2,4,6-trichloroanisole
  • Agar