1 Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark2 Natural Product Chemistry, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark3 National Academy of Agricultural Science4 University of Szeged5 Fungal Chemodiversity, Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Technical University of Denmark6 Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche7 Tohoku University8 Department National Research Institute of Brewing9 National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology10 CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre11 University of Szeged12 Tohoku University13 National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
Aspergilli known as black- and white-koji molds which are used for awamori, shochu, makgeolli and other food and beverage fermentations, are reported in the literature as A. luchuensis, A. awamori, A. kawachii, or A. acidus. In order to elucidate the taxonomic position of these species, available ex-type cultures were compared based on morphology and molecular characters. A. luchuensis, A. kawachii and A. acidus showed the same banding patterns in RAPD, and the three species had the same rDNA-ITS, β-tubulin and calmodulin sequences and these differed from those of the closely related A. niger and A. tubingensis. Morphologically, the three species are not significantly different from each other or from A. niger and A. tubingensis. It is concluded that A. luchuensis, A. kawachii and A. acidus are the same species, and A. luchuensis is selected as the correct name based on priority. Strains of A. awamori which are stored in National Research Institute of Brewing in Japan, represent A. niger (n = 14) and A. luchuensis (n = 6). The neotype of A. awamori (CBS 557.65 = NRRL 4948) does not originate from awamori fermentation and it is shown to be identical with the unknown taxon Aspergillus welwitschiae. Extrolite analysis of strains of A. luchuensis showed that they do not produce mycotoxins and therefore can be considered safe for food and beverage fermentations. A. luchuensis is also frequently isolated from meju and nuruk in Korea and Puerh tea in China and the species is probably common in the fermentation environment of East Asia. A re-description of A. luchuensis is provided because the incomplete data in the original literature.