Process Management

News last update:6 Aug 2012

Aspergillus niger genome unravelled

DSM is publishing a paper in the February 2007 issue of the renowned scientific journal "Nature Biotechnology" announcing the release of the DNA sequence of the fungus Aspergillus niger. The article - which has 69 co-authors - is the result of a research project carried out by DSM in which twenty-nine international research groups participated.

Aspergillus niger is a micro-organism that DSM uses for the production of enzymes and other compounds, such as citric acid. At the beginning of this century, DSM started work on the determination of the complete DNA sequence of Aspergillus niger and the identification of the functions of the different genes. The research grew into one of the most important industrial genomics projects in Europe.

New products and uses
Dr Herman Pel, Principal Scientist Genomics and Bioinformatics at DSM who coordinated the execution of the sequencing project: "The unravelling of the DNA sequence not only accelerates the development of new products, but also enables us to study the highly complex physiological behaviour of Aspergillus niger with the help of the most advanced biological analysis techniques such as DNA micro-array analysis, proteomics and bio-informatics and use the insights gained to improve production processes." Dr Hein Stam, Principal Scientist Applied Genomics and Fermentation who coordinated the publication of the genome: "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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