Improving the filamentous fungus Aspergillus niger as cell factory for starch degrading enzymes
We aim to develop A. niger strains that produce more starch degrading enzymes even in the absence of starch.
- Arthur Ram
- NWO - KIEM Project
Filamentous fungi play an essential role in the recycling of organic plant waste. Plant waste consists mainly of complex polysaccharides such as starch. Filamentous fungi, including the industrially important fungus Aspergillus niger, produce enzymes to degrade starch. These starch degrading enzymes (SDEs) are produced and used by Biotech companies and used in the food industry, the paper industry and for the production of bio-based chemicals and biofuels.
In Nature, the production SDEs by fungi, including A. niger, is tightly controlled and requires the presence of inducing sugars like maltose or iso-maltose which are derived from starch. The inducer molecule is required to activate a transcriptional activator (AmyR) to induce the expression of the genes encoding the SDEs. Therefore, the current production of SDEs requires specific feedstocks with high levels of starch or starch derivatives such as maltodextrins. In this project, the we aim to develop A. niger strains that produce more starch degrading enzymes even in the absence of starch. It is expected that the results obtained can also be applied to improve production of other enzymes.