About the book
The genus Aspergillus comprises more than 300 species distributed in nature as human and animal pathogens, allergens, mycotoxin producers and nonpathogenic saprobes. They are cosmopolitan fungi with worldwide distribution which frequently colonize plants and agricultural crops with their abundant airborne conidia originates from the soil as major natural habitat. Exposure to massive numbers of fungal conidia by inhalation or via consumption of contaminated food and feed results in human and animal diseases with different clinical pictures from allergenic reactions to superficial and invasive life-threatening pulmonary invasion. Although all Aspergillus species are considered as potential pathogens, Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger are major species with an established role in human and plant diseases. Aside from pathogenicity and the ability to produce a wide group of mycotoxins from the best-known aflatoxins to ochratoxins, gliotoxins, cyclopiazonic acid, teniazonic acid, and other toxic compounds, some Aspergilli like as Aspergillus nidulans, Aspergillus sojae, Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus niger have received major consideration regard to their beneficial role in the food industry and biotechnology.
This book highlights important members of the genus Aspergillus not only in relation to their ability to induce human and animal diseases but also for their role in food and feed deterioration, mycotoxin production and potential application in the food industry and biotechnology.