Genome-Based Analysis of Aspergillus niger Aggregate Species from China and Their Potential for Fumonisin B<sub>2</sub> and Ochratoxin A Production
Curr Microbiol. 2022 May 17;79(7):193. doi: 10.1007/s00284-022-02876-8.
Based on entire genome sequencing, this study focused on the classification of Aspergillus niger aggregation species and investigated their potential for fumonisin B2 (FB2) and ochratoxin A (OTA) production. In the current study, 22 strains were used, namely 17 A. niger strains, four A. welwitschiae strains, and one A. lacticoffeatus (a synonym of A. niger) strain. Traditional multigene phylogenetic analysis, average nucleotide identity analysis (ANI), and the whole-genome single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses were used to reconfirm the taxonomic status of A. niger, A. welwitschiae, and A. lacticoffeatus. The ability of A. niger to produce FB2 and OTA on five culture substrates was determined, and the association between FB2 and OTA gene clusters and toxin-producing abilities was explored. The results revealed that the ANI method could distinguish A. niger from A. welwitschiae, with an ANI value of < 98%. The SNP-based phylogenetic analysis suggested that A. niger and A. welwitschiae were two independent phylogenetic species. The ANI, SNP, and multigene phylogenetic analysis supported previous findings that A. lacticoffeatus was a synonymous species of A. niger. Aspergillus niger strains exhibited the varied potential of producing FB2 and OTA on different culture media. The A. niger genome sequence analysis revealed no significant difference in fumonisin gene clusters between FB2-nonproducing isolates and FB2-producing isolates, and the integrity of the ochratoxin biosynthesis genes cluster was clearly associated with OTA production. In conclusion, gene sequencing can be useful in assessing A. niger’s ability to produce OTA, but it cannot reliably predict its ability to produce FB2.