Production of terpenes with Aspergillus nidulans.

Kiira Vuoristo, Kirsi Bromann, Mervi Toivari, Laura Ruohonen, Tiina Nakari-Setälä

Author address: 

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Address: Tietotie 2, Espoo, P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland


Terpenes are a large and diverse group of hydrocarbons with many pharmaceutical and industrial applications including fragrances, preservatives, flavouring agents and drugs, e.g. anti-malarial artemisin, and the cancer drug Taxol. Terpenes with rearrangements in their carbon skeleton are referred to as terpenoids. The low water solubility, high volatility, cytotoxicity and complex structure of terpenoids make them difficult to produce in industrial scale. Modification of readily available precursors of terpenoids in filamentous fungi would present an alternative way to produce value-added compounds. There are not many reports on microbial transformation of terpenoids by fungi of the Aspergillus genus, although their ability to transform terpenes is recognised. The biotransformation of terpenes is of interest because it allows production of enantiomerically pure compounds under mild conditions. In nature, filamentous fungi produce terpenoids as secondary metabolites; i.e. they are not required for growth or development but instead function in communication or defence. The fungal terpenoids are involved in pathogenesis, production of toxins (e.g. alfatoxin), and utilization of specific carbon sources. Filamentous fungi have been widely used in industrial scale production of various compounds and especially Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus nidulans represent potential host organisms for the production and modification of various terpenoid products. This work describes genetic engineering of A. nidulans for terpenoid production. The aim is to study the potential of this organism for terpenoid production and isolate interesting terpenoid products or their precursors.

abstract No: 


Full conference title: 

26th Fungal Genetics Conference
    • Fungal Genetics Conference 26th (2005)