Quality / R&D

Kikkoman Sequences Koji Genome

Kikkoman has successfully sequenced and analyzed the genome of the Aspergillus sojae (koji mold) in association with the Noda Institute for Scientific Research, the University of Tokyo and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Aspergillus sojae (A. sojae) is one of the key molds used in food fermentation in Japan, together with the koji mold Aspergillus oryzae (A. oryzae). Until now, A. sojae was found only in the fermentation processes of soy sauce and miso. This recent sequencing breakthrough has drawn worldwide attention from the genetic studies community.

Koji mold is essential in brewing soy sauce. The various enzymes produced by koji mold play an important role in fermenting the ingredients that make up soy sauce--soybeans and wheat--and this fermentation is the key to creating the basic constituent of the taste of soy sauce.

A. sojae has a very high degradation potential of protein, and thus is used primarily as the koji mold in the production of brewed foods whose main ingredient is soybeans--foods that include soy sauce and miso.

Since its foundation, Kikkoman has utilized its original koji mold Kikkoman Aspergillus, which is derived from both A. sojae and A. oryzae. Kikkoman Aspergillus is carefully stored in an environment where temperatures and humidity are strictly managed.

Kikkoman will continue its research activities so that this recent A. sojae sequencing discovery will lead to the development and production of food products that are ever more healthy and delicious.