Aspergillus niger is a fungus and one of the most common species of the genus Aspergillus. It causes a disease called black mold on certain fruits and vegetables such as grapes, onions, and peanuts, and is a common contaminant of food. It is ubiquitous in soil and is commonly reported from indoor environments, where its black colonies can be confused with those of Stachybotrys (species of which have also been called "black mould").
Some strains of A. niger have been reported to produce potent mycotoxins called ochratoxins, but other sources disagree, claiming this report is based upon misidentification of the fungal species. Recent evidence suggests some true A. niger strains do produce ochratoxin A.
Human and animal diseaseA. niger is less likely to cause human disease than some other Aspergillus species, but, if large amounts of spores are inhaled, a serious lung disease, aspergillosis can occur. Aspergillosis is, in particular, frequent among horticultural workers that inhale peat dust, which can be rich in Aspergillus spores. It has been found on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs and can be inhaled when the area is disturbed. A. niger is one of the most common causes of otomycosis (fungal ear infections), which can cause pain, temporary hearing loss, and, in severe cases, damage to the ear canal and tympanic membrane.
REF:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspergillus_niger ACessado em 16/05/11
On Czapek dox agar, colonies consist of a compact white or yellow basal felt covered by a dense layer of dark-brown to black conidial heads. Conidial heads are large (up to 3 mm x 15-20 um in diameter), globose, dark brown, becoming radiate and tending to split into several loose columns with age. Conidiophores are smooth-walled, hyaline or turning dark towards the vesicle. Conidial heads are biseriate with the phialides borne on brown, often septate metulae. Conidia are globose to subglobose (3.5-5.0 um in diameter), dark brown to black and rough-walled. RG-1 organism.
Aspergillus niger is one of the most common and easily identifiable species of the genus Aspergillus, with its white to yellow mat later bearing black conidia. This is the third most common species associated with invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. It is also often a causative agent of aspergilloma and is the most frequently encountered agent of otomycosis. A. niger may also be a common laboratory contaminant.
REF: http://www.mycology.adelaide.edu.au/Fungal_Descriptions/Hyphomycetes_(hyaline)/Aspergillus/niger.html Acessado em 16/05/11