A. niger is a fungus and one of the most common species in the genus Aspergillus. It produces colonies that are composed of white or yellow felt-like hyphae that is covered by dark asexually produced fungal spores. It is usually found in common mesophilic environments such as soil, plants, and enclosed air environments. A. niger is not only a xerophilic fungi (mold that doesn't require free water for growth, can grow in humid environments), but is also a thermotolerant organism (capable of growing at high temperatures). Because of this property it exhibits a high tolerance to freezing temperatures.
A.niger is an important microorganism in the field of biology. In addition to producing citric acid and enzymes such as amylases, proteases, and lipases, it can also be used for waste management and biotransformations. It causes a disease called black mold on certain fruits and vegetables such as grapes, onions, and peanuts, and is a common contaminant of food. It is also responsible for the production of secondary metabolites (such as aflatoxin) that are toxic.
* Although Aspergillus niger is classified as a Risk Group 1 organism, it is considered to be unsuitable for use in school pracs by some education personnel.
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Microbiology Safety Considerations.This guide for Australian schools is made available through the courtesy of the author, S K Hoffmann.
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Bacterial and Fungi Cultures Note(new window, 0.1M, pdf format)