Micro-organism used in the production of enzymes and other compounds.

DSM is publishing a paper in the February 2007 issue of Nature Biotechnology covering the DNA sequence of the fungus Aspergillus niger. The project, undertaken by 29 international groups, resulted in a genome sequence of 33.9 million base pairs with more than 14,000 unique genes.

Aspergillus niger is a micro-organism that DSM uses for the production of enzymes and other compounds, such as citric acid. These are mainly used in foodstuffs to improve taste, shelf life, texture, nutritional value, etc.

“The unraveling of the DNA sequence not only accelerates the development of new products but also enables us to study the highly complex physiological behavior of Aspergillus niger with the help of the most advanced biological analysis techniques, such as DNA microarray analysis, proteomics, and bio-informatics and use the insights gained to improve production processes,” says Herman Pel, Ph.D., principal scientist genomics and bioinformatics at DSM.

Hein Stam, principal scientist applied genomics and fermentation adds, “Further research on Aspergillus niger could help identify other possible uses of this micro-organism, such as in the sustainable use of raw materials. With the functions of some 7,500 genes still unknown, scientific researchers have plenty of challenges to deal with in the future.”

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