Autodiploid strains were induced by colchicine treatment of Aspergillus niger WU-2223L, a citric acid-producing strain. In shaking culture, a representative autodiploid strain, L-d1, yielded higher citric acid than the parental strain, WU-2223L. When glucose was used as a carbon source, L-d1 and WU-2223L produced 67.2 g/l and 62.0 g/l of citric acid, respectively, from 120 g/l of glucose in 9 d-cultivation. Furthermore, the autodiploid strain L-d1 produced 49.6 g/l of citric acid, 1.4 times as much as that produced by WU-2223L from 120 g/l of soluble starch. During the whole period of cultivation with starch, the extracellular glucoamylase activity of L-d1 was on the same level as that of WU-2223L, but the extracellular acid-protease activity of L-d1 was much higher. The addition of pepstatin, an inhibitor of acid protease, to the culture broth at 2 d greatly increased the extracellular glucoamylase activity, and citric acid production by L-d1 reached a level of 59.0 g/l. During several subcultivations on both minimal and complete agar media, the autodiploid strains were genetically stable since they formed diploid conidia in their uniform colonies without producing sectors, and maintained citric acid productivity. However, when cultivated on minimal and complete agar media containing benomyl as a haploidizing reagent, the autodiploid strains readily formed sectors of haploid segregants. The properties of the haploid strains obtained by the benomyl treatment of the autodiploid strains were similar in morphology and citric acid productivity to those of the parental strain, WU-2223L. These results indicated that the enhanced production of citric acid from soluble starch by the autodiploid strains was due to autodiploid formation but not to gene mutation caused by the colchicine treatment.
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