Chitin in the fungal cell wall: towards valorization of spent biomass of Aspergillus niger
Aspergillus niger is an important industrial producer of organic acids and enzymes producing large amounts of spent fungal biomass.
- Leeuwe, T.M. van
- 04 November 2020
- Thesis in Leiden Repository
Aspergillus niger is an important industrial producer of organic acids and enzymes producing large amounts of spent fungal biomass. In the European Research Area Industrial Biotechnology (ERA-IB) funded project, we effectively aimed to improve the composition of post-fermentation fungal biomass for extraction of the value-added product chitosan as a derivative of cell wall chitin (FunChi). As chitin/chitosan is not encountered in plant or human tissue, it often acts as an elicitor to plant and animal immune responses in order to fight off possible impending fungal infections. The application of both chitin and chitosan oligomers have been shown to prime plants against infection. This thesis discusses the identification of genes that are important for chitin deposition in the cell wall of A. niger. In addition, the work described here also investigates the genes that facilitate chitin cross-linking to the cell wall. The relevance of all findings are discussed in relation to both the improvement of chitin extraction from post-fermentation biomass and to the integrity of the fungal cell wall.