Establishment of an Aspergillus-based production system for biorefinery industry

Project: Research project (funded)Research

Project Details

Key findings

The project sought to establish an academic research program working with Aspergillus niger, a filamentous fungus used in the commercial production of citric acid by fermentation. Industrial strains of this fungus produce citric acid from sucrose rich feedstocks. We are interested in developing new strains that can make citric acid from alternative sugar feedstocks derived from waste materials. During the project we successfully established facilities for Aspergillus growth at the new microbiology suite in the Biorenewables Development Centre at York, We also successfully caried out mutagenesis and initial strain adaptation studies using xylose as a fermentation sugar. Xylose is a 5-carbon sugar derived from the breakdown of agricultural wastes such as cereal straw, and potentially a cheaper and more sustainable feedstock for citric acid production. The work carried out by our industrial partner has paved the way for a BBSRC-funded PhD studentship being supervised by Dr Jamie Woods and Prof. Simon McQueen-Mason, on using systems-based approaches to understand and engineer metabolism in Aspergillus. The work has helped cement the relationship between Citrations Ltd and researchers at York, and we hope to build on this in subsequent research applications in the Industrial Biotechnology area.
Effective start/end date27/06/1226/06/14


  • BBSRC: £47,447.00