Several mutants of Aspergillus niger, deficient in extracellular protease expression, have been isolated and characterized both genetically and biochemically. The mutant strains, obtained after in vivo UV-mutagenesis of conidiospores and selected by haloscreening on a new dual-substrate plate assay, belong to at least seven different complementation groups. These seven prt loci were assigned to linkage groups using master strains with marked chromosomes. One prt locus (prtC) could be assigned to linkage group I, three (prtB, prtE and prtG) to linkage group III, one (prtF) to linkage group V and the two remaining loci (prtA and prtD) to linkage group VIII. Extracellular proteolytic activities varied from 2 to 3% up to 80% of the protease activity of the parental strain. Assigning the different prt mutants to structural or regulatory genes is difficult since only one structural gene, pepA, has been mapped unambiguously on linkage group I but is not identical to prtC. All prt mutants except for prtC are likely to be regulatory mutants or else belong to a proteolytic cascade because residual activities showed that more proteolytic activities were affected simultaneously. Double mutants were constructed both by recombination and by a second round of mutagenesis. In both cases mutants with further reduced extracellular proteolytic activities were isolated. A sensitive in vitro degradation assay, based on the homologous pectin lyase B (PELB) protein to analyze proteolytic degradation in A. niger, was developed and used to show extremely reduced proteolytic PELB degradation in the culture media of some of these mutants.