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Members of Aspergillus section Nigri (Black Aspergilli) are prolific producers of no less than 49 out of 260 industrial enzymes. These filamentous fungi are thus extremely relevant for biomedicine, biotechnology and bioenergy, but they can also be a major threaMembers of Aspergillus section Nigri (Black Aspergilli) are prolific producers of no less than 49 out of 260 industrial enzymes. These filamentous fungi are thus extremely relevant for biomedicine, biotechnology and bioenergy, but they can also be a major threat for plants and human health, producing toxins like ochratoxin A, a food contaminating mycotoxin.
One of the co-authors Scott Baker characterizes Aspergillus in a Lawrence Berkeley article as ‘the Swiss army knife of fungal genera as far as its impact on things that are important to us.’
Because of its relevance for medical, applied and basic research, researchers from Denmark, USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia, France and the Netherlands joined forces to build a genetic and genomic profile of this section of Aspergillus.
In doing so the team discovers thousands of new genes and highlights interesting differences in closely related species. Investigating these differences teaches us something about natural evolution and can give us insight in how best to engineer strains for new interesting products. The Westerdijk researchers focused in particular on the ability of these fungi to degrade plant biomass to sugars, which can then be converted into biofuels, biochemicals and biomaterials, thus stimulating the biobased economy.

Investigation of inter- and intraspecies variation through genome sequencing of Aspergillus section Nigri by Vesth, TC et al.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-018-0246-1