Background: Microorganisms such as filamentous fungi are important sources of enzymes and secondary metabolites with wide application in biotechnological processes conducted in different industrial areas. Aspergillus, one of the most important genera of filamentous fungi for this purpose, has been used as a model to understand different biological processes. Despite the existence of some pathogenic Aspergillus strains, many others have been explored from a biotechnological perspective. Characteristics such as the presence of a secretory pathway, the possibility of genetic manipulation, and high productivity using different fermentative processes are advantageous and favorable for the use of Aspergillus spp. for different purposes. Production of both hydrolases and secondary metabolites has been reported for different Aspergillus species.
Objective: This review describes the production, importance, and application of the main hydrolases (amylases, cellulases, fructofuranosidases, xylanases, proteases, tannases, and phytases) produced by Aspergillus spp. considering their importance in the global enzyme market. The production of secondary metabolites such as bioactive peptides and pigments is also presented.
Conclusion: Different Aspergillus strains have demonstrated biotechnological potential for the production of hydrolases and secondary metabolites for application in food and feed, beverage, pharmaceutical, pulp, and bioremediation industries among others. In the future new species should be described and their biotechnological potential evaluated.