In this article we will discuss about the economic importance of aspergillus.
About 33 species of this genus have been reported from India mostly from the soil. Their role in the economy of nature has not been fully investigated. Aspergillus causes rot of figs and dates, decay of tobacco and cigars.
It spoils nuts, bread and other food-stuffs. In humid weather it grows even on leather and cloth fabrics. To cut short this cosmopolitan genus is one of the most frequent contaminants of food.
Aspergillus niger, popularly known as the black mold is considered a ‘weed of laboratory’ as it often contaminates the bacteriological and mycological cultures. A. niger and several other species cause decay of foodstuffs.
Some of these during the process produce poisonous substance known as mycotoxins. The most important among these is aflatoxin. Of the saprophytic species A. oryzae is employed in making alcohol by the saccharification of rice starch.
A. niger is utilized in the production of citric and other organic acids. Some species yield antibiotics. The cultures of A. niger and A. oryzae yield a wide range of enzymes used in industrial fermentation. A few species of Aspergillus are parasitic.
They cause diseases in animals and plants. A. fumifatus, A. flavus, and A. niger parasitize men and animals. They cause a number of diseases grouped under the name Aspergilloses (sing, aspergillosis).
They also occur in the human ear and cause Otomycosis. A. niger causes rot disease of pomegranates, dates and figs. Azuma et al. (1968) reported the isolation, purification and characterization of an immunologically active glycoprotein for skin test and serological reaction from the mycelium of A. fumigatus.