Location: Food and Feed Safety Research
Title: Aspergillus flavus Genomic Data Mining Provides Clues for Its Use in Producing Biobased Products Authors
Submitted to: American Chemical Society National Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 30, 2006
Publication Date: March 25, 2007
Citation: Yu, J., Nierman, W.C., Bhatnagar, D., Cleveland, T.E. 2007. Aspergillus flavus Genomic Data Mining Provides Clues for Its Use in Producing Biobased Products. In: Proceedings of the American Chemical Society National Meeting, March 25-29, 2007, Chicago, IL. p. 108. Technical Abstract: Aspergillus flavus is notorious for its ability to produce aflatoxins. It is also an opportunistic pathogen that infects plants, animals and human beings. The ability to survive in the natural environment, living on plant tissues (leaves or stalks), live or dead insects make A. flavus a ubiquitous species that can be found almost everywhere on our planet. The saprophytic property of A. flavus has rarely been explored for its potential benefit. In the course of investigating its pathogenic mechanism, we have identified a gene encoding for a pectinase that is capable of degrading complex starch into simple sugars for its nutrition. It is well known that A. flavus possesses a whole array of degrading enzymes that can breakdown organic matter such as cellulose and produce energy. A. flavus whole genome sequencing has been completed at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR). Genes identified in the A. flavus genome that potentially encode for enzymes involved in degrading organic matter, include cellulases, 11 amylases, 5 proteinases, 8 polygalacturonases and hundreds of hydrolases. These fungal enzymes could play important roles for its saprophytic property. The A. flavus whole genome microarrays can be used for genome-wide gene profiling and genetic expression studies. Genetic engineering of the fungal genome can be considered to create a highly efficient bio-degrader for bioconversion or for organic waste recycling, particularly in the production of biofuels.