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PloS one

Formation of sclerotia and production of indoloterpenes by Aspergillus niger and other species in section Nigri.


PMID 24736731

Abstract

Several species in Aspergillus section Nigri have been reported to produce sclerotia on well-known growth media, such as Czapek yeast autolysate (CYA) agar, with sclerotia considered to be an important prerequisite for sexual development. However Aspergillus niger sensu stricto has not been reported to produce sclerotia, and is thought to be a purely asexual organism. Here we report, for the first time, the production of sclerotia by certain strains of Aspergillus niger when grown on CYA agar with raisins, or on other fruits or on rice. Up to 11 apolar indoloterpenes of the aflavinine type were detected by liquid chromatography and diode array and mass spectrometric detection where sclerotia were formed, including 10,23-dihydro-24,25-dehydroaflavinine. Sclerotium induction can thus be a way of inducing the production of new secondary metabolites from previously silent gene clusters. Cultivation of other species of the black aspergilli showed that raisins induced sclerotium formation by A. brasiliensis, A. floridensis A. ibericus, A. luchuensis, A. neoniger, A. trinidadensis and A. saccharolyticus for the first time.