Aspergillus oryzae

Aspergillus oryzae, known in English as koji, is a filamentous fungus (a mold) used in Chinese and other East Asian cuisines to ferment soybeans for making soy sauce and fermented bean paste, and also to saccharify rice, other grains, and potatoes in the making of alcoholic beverages such as huangjiu, sake, makgeolli, and shōchū. The domestication of A. oryzae occurred at least 2000 years ago. A. oryzae is also used for the production of rice vinegars. Dr. Eiji Ichishima of Tohoku University called the kōji fungus a "national fungus" (kokkin) in the journal of the Brewing Society of Japan, because of its importance not only for making the koji for sake brewing, but also for making the koji for miso, soy sauce, and a range of other traditional Japanese foods. His proposal was approved at the society's annual meeting in 2006.

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