A ferulic acid esterase (FAE-III), which was induced by growth of Aspergillus niger CBS 120.49 on oat-spelts xylan, was capable of releasing ferulic acid from wheat bran but not from sugar-beet pulp (SBP) [Faulds CB, Williamson G (1994) Microbiology 140:779-787]. Growth of this strain on SBP gave low levels of ferulic acid esterase activity (using methyl ferulate as substrate). A similar growth with a different A. niger strain (CS 180) gave tenfold higher levels of esterase activity. Assaying culture filtrates obtained from A. niger CS 180 grown on SBP over a 3 to 10-day period against four simple phenolic methyl esters demonstrated that at least two esterases were produced, and, by comparison of substrate specificity, FAE-III was either absent or present only at low levels. Furthermore, immunodetection of proteins did not detect the presence of FAE-III in culture supernatants of SBP-grown cultures, whereas it did in cultures grown on oat-spelts xylan. These results show that SBP does not contain the inducer for FAE-III, but does induce novel esterases. When A. niger CS 180 cultures were grown on different carbon sources, esterase activity was induced on SBP, sugar-beet arabinan and oat-spelts xylan, but not on simple sugars or de-esterified sugar-beet pectin. Further, SBP-grown cultures co-inoculated with arabinanase, galactanase or xylanase did not exhibit increased levels of extracellular FAE activity or an earlier appearance of esterase activity, although there was an increase in esterase activity with added polygalacturonase. These results show that novel esterases are induced by growth of A. niger on SBP.