Physiological and molecular aspects of degradation of plant polysaccharides by fungi: What have we learned from Aspergillus?



Plant biomass is the most abundant and usable carbon source for many fungal species. Due to its diverse and complex structure, fungi need to produce a large range of enzymes to degrade these polysaccharides into monomeric components. The fine-tuned production of such diverse enzyme sets requires control through a set of transcriptional regulators. Aspergillus has a strong potential for degrading biomass, thus this genus has become the most widely studied group of filamentous fungi in this area. This review examines Aspergillus as a successful degrader of plant polysaccharides, and reviews its potential in many industries such as biofuel and as a production host of homologous and heterologous proteins.