A set of aspergillus strains from culture collections and wild-type black aspergilli isolated on non-selective media were used to validate the use of media with 20 % tannic acid for exclusive and complete selection of the black aspergilli. The 20% tannic acid medium proved useful for both quantitative and qualitative selection of all different black aspergilli, including all recognized species: A. carbonarius, A. japonicus, A. aculeatus, A foetidus, A. heteromorphus, A. niger, A. tubingensis and A. brasiliensis haplotypes. Even higher concentrations of tannic acid can be utilized by the black aspergilli suggesting a very efficient tannic acid-degrading system. Colour mutants show that the characteristic ability to grow on high tannic acid concentrations is not causally linked to the other typical feature of these aspergilli, i.e. the formation of brown-black pigments. Sequence analysis of the A. niger genome using the A. orvzae tannase gene yielded eleven tannase-like genes, far more than in related species. Therefore, a unique ecological niche in the degradation of tannic acid and connected nitrogen release seems to be reserved for these black-spored cosmopolitans.
- niger aggregate