Professor P. Cohn has recently described the mode in which he has manufactured the Japanese sake or rice wine in the laboratory. The material used was "Tane Kosi," i.e., grains of rice coated with the mycelium, conidiophores, and greenish yellow chains of conidia of Aspergillus Oryzoe. The fermentation is caused by the mycelium of this fungus before the development of the fructification. The rice is first exposed to moist air so as to change the starch into paste, and then mixed with grains of the "Tane Kosi." The whole mass of rice becomes in a short time permeated by the soft white shining mycelium, which imparts to it the odor of apple or pine-apple. To prevent the production of the fructification, freshly moistened rice is constantly added for two or three days, and then subjected to alcoholic fermentation from the Saccharomyces, which is always present in the rice, but which has nothing to do with the Aspergillus. The fermentation is completed in two or three weeks, and the golden yellow, sherry-like sake is poured off. The sample manufactured contained 13.9 per cent. of alcohol.
Chemical investigation showed that the Aspergillus mycelium transforms the starch into glucose, and thus plays the part of a diastase.
Another substance produced from the Aspergillus rice is the soja sauce. The soja leaves, which contain little starch, but a great deal of oil and casein, are boiled, mixed with roasted barley, and then with the greenish yellow conidia powder of the Aspergillus. After the mycelium has fructified, the mass is treated with a solution of sodium chloride, which kills the Aspergillus, another fungus, of the nature of a Chalaza, and similar to that produced in the fermentation of "sauerkraut," appearing in its place. The dark-brown soja sauce then separates.