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* TITLE Simultaneous co-fermentation of mixed sugars: a promising strategy for producing cellulosic biofuels and chemicals
Name Affiliation E-mail
Yong-Su Jin University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ysjin(at)illinois.edu
* HOST(Applicant)
Name Affiliation E-mail
Pan-Jun Kim APCTP pjkim(at)apctp.org
* DATE / TIME 2012-09-21, 2:00 pm
* PLACE Science Bldg, 3-201
The lack of microbial strains capable of fermenting all sugars present in plant cell wall hydrolyzates to fuels and chemicals is a major challenge of industrial biotechnology. While naturally existing or engineered microorganisms can ferment mixed sugars (glucose, xylose, and galactose) in hydrolyzates from terrestrial or marine biomass, the preferential utilization of glucose to non-glucose sugars often results in lower conversion yield and productivity of fuels and chemicals. To overcome these bottlenecks, we engineered yeasts to co-ferment mixtures of cellobiose and xylose. After constructing an efficient xylose-fermenting strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae through rational and combinatorial strategies, we introduced a cellobiose utilizing pathway into the xylose-fermenting strain. In this yeast strain, hydrolysis of cellobiose takes place inside yeast cells through the action of an intracellular β-glucosidase following import by a cellodextrin transporter (1). The resulting yeast strain not only co-fermented cellobiose and xylose simultaneously, but also exhibited improved ethanol yield as compared when either cellobiose or xylose was used as a sole carbon source (2). With a similar strategy, we demonstrate that co-fermentation of cellobiose and galactose (3) and enhanced production of xylitol from a mixture of cellobiose and xylose (4) are also feasible. Our results suggest that this simultaneous co-fermentation of mixed sugars is a promising strategy for producing fuels and chemicals from plant biomass.

1. Galazka et al. Science 330:84-86 (2010)
2. Ha et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108:504-509 (2011)
3. Ha et al. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 77: 5822-5826 (2011)
4. Oh et al. AIChE Annual Meeting (2011)
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