Aspergillus niger uses the peroxisomal CoA-dependent β-oxidative genes to degrade the hydroxycinnamic acids caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and p-coumaric acid

Ronnie J.M. Lubbers, Adiphol Dilokpimol, J Visser, Ronald P. de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: Aromatic compounds are important molecules which are widely applied in many industries and are mainly produced from nonrenewable sources. Renewable sources such as plant biomass are interesting alternatives for the production of aromatic compounds. Ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid, a precursor for vanillin and p-vinyl phenol, respectively, can be released from plant biomass by the fungus Aspergillus niger. The degradation of hydroxycinnamic acids such as caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and p-coumaric acid has been observed in many fungi. In A. niger, multiple metabolic pathways were suggested for the degradation of hydroxycinnamic acids. However, no genes were identified for these hydroxycinnamic acid metabolic pathways. In this study, several pathway genes were identified using whole-genome transcriptomic data of A. niger grown on different hydroxycinnamic acids. The genes are involved in the CoA-dependent β-oxidative pathway in fungi. This pathway is well known for the degradation of fatty acids, but not for hydroxycinnamic acids. However, in plants, it has been shown that hydroxycinnamic acids are degraded through this pathway. We identified genes encoding hydroxycinnamate-CoA synthase (hcsA), multifunctional β-oxidation hydratase/dehydrogenase (foxA), 3-ketoacyl CoA thiolase (katA), and four thioesterases (theA-D) of A. niger, which were highly induced by all three tested hydroxycinnamic acids. Deletion mutants revealed that these genes were indeed involved in the degradation of several hydroxycinnamic acids. In addition, foxA and theB are also involved in the degradation of fatty acids. HcsA, FoxA, and KatA contained a peroxisomal targeting signal and are therefore predicted to be localized in peroxisomes. Key points: • Metabolism of hydroxycinnamic acid was investigated in Aspergillus niger • Using transcriptome data, multiple CoA-dependent β-oxidative genes were identified. • Both foxA and theB are involved in hydroxycinnamate but also fatty acid metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4199-4211
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Aromatic compounds
  • Beta-oxidation
  • Fatty acids
  • Hydroxycinnamic acids
  • Peroxisome


Dive into the research topics of 'Aspergillus niger uses the peroxisomal CoA-dependent β-oxidative genes to degrade the hydroxycinnamic acids caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and p-coumaric acid'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this