Aspergillus niger and Paper

IMG_8056 Aspergillus niger is one of the most active cellulolytic fungi. The roll of drawings in the above picture is mainly infested by A. niger and Chaetomium sp. as identified from the cultures isolated from the deteriorating inner-side of the roll. This culture was maintained on potato dextrose agar slants.

culture maintained on PDA slant

Following are the digital pictures of the portions of the slides that were studied under a compound microscope.

Aspergillus niger
Aspergillus niger

Aspergillus niger is ubiquitous in soil and is commonly reported from indoor environments.

Cellulase production by Aspergillus niger on lignocellulosic substrates is reported  in both submerged (SmF) and solid State (SSF) Fermentations. Cellulases are the group of hydrolytic enzymes Filter paperase (FPase), Carboxymethylcellulase (CMCase) and -glucosidase (BGL) and are responsible for release of sugars in the bioconversion of the paper into a variety of products which is the cause of loss of drawing along with the paper.

(digital pictures of the fungus were taken with the help of a very ordinary extension of eyepiece to an old compound microscope..)
P.S. (post scriptum)

Aspergillus niger is included in Aspergillus subgenus Circumdati, section Nigri. The section Nigri includes 15 related black-spored species that may be confused with A. niger, including A. tubingensis, A. foetidus, A. carbonarius, and A. awamori.

Author: namitajaspal
Namita Jaspal, with inherited skills of art and aesthetics and passion for science, opted to pursue post- graduation in ‘Conservation of Cultural Property’ after her graduation in Science from Delhi University in 1992. Four year intense training at National Museum Institute provided the right foundation to start a career in Conservation. She is currently practicing conservation consultancy for Heritage property including monuments and collections. She has been doing independent research in conservation techniques and procedures in Indian context. She is currently working on the conservation of wall-paintings of Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji (The Golden temple at Amritsar. The project is nearing completion and getting a lot of appreciation for the organized and ethical treatment it is providing. It is for the first time in the history of Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji (The Golden Temple) that wall painting conservation and preservation is being done in a scientific manner, keeping the codes of Ethics into consideration while decision making. Another project just completed is of the Conservation of Krishna Temple at Kishankot, Gurdaspur, Punjab. In her private Conservation Laboratory, she is not only providing onservation services, but also mentoring young aspiring conservators and archaeologists by the way of training and paid internships. She has been a guest lecturer at DIHRM (Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management). With all the updated knowledge database and innovative practical approaches relevant to the Indian conditions, she could successfully do curative and preservative treatment of very old textiles like a nine feet long flag from nineteenth century that is regarded as priceless memorabilia of second Dogra regiment at Chandi Mandir, and four hundred years old (seventeenth century) Chola Sahib Ji of Sixth Guru of Sikhs, Sri Hargobind Sahib Ji. Apart from this she has done conservation of Photograph collections, archival records, numerous paintings, manuscripts and other cultural objects. She is also involved in preparation of up-gradation proposals for museums and such organizations. Her expertise includes Conservation and preservation technologies and procedures for conservation of varied material like wall paintings, paper, photographs, textile, ceramics, stone, metal and archaeological objects.

2 thoughts on “Aspergillus niger and Paper

  1. Sm/SS Fermentation–infestation due to ligno- cellulosic substrate is obvious ,could be eradicated,with the use of Thymol or in sunlight I think.

    1. In this particular case, the substrate is not an ordinary paper, but chemically treated paper to make blue lines of an engineering drawing. So, it is not so simple, as we know that thymol reacts with many organic pigments and dyes.The chemical nature of blue lines is inherently sensitive to sunlight. Blue lines are extremely sensitive to light and we see innumerable drawings gone completely blank because of fading.
      Things and issues in the field of conservation are not as easy as they seem. Moreover, in the process of all this study, we learn and understand life, ecology and other more important issues much better.

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