Evolutionary engineered strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for efficient lignocellulosic bioethanol production
Conference poster, 2014
Lignocellulosic biomass is an abundant raw material that can be utilized to produce ethanol with the help of Saccharomyces cerevisiae; a promising alternative to today’s energy sources. Conversion of lignocellulosic material (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin) into fermentable sugars including both hexoses and pentoses results in formation of inhibitory compounds such as acetic acid, furan aldehydes and phenolics that are known to inhibit the yeasts’ metabolic processes. The aims of this study were to i) generate S. cerevisiae strains that can readily convert glucose and xylose into ethanol in the presence of inhibitory compounds, and ii) elucidate the underlying genetic changes of importance for the improved properties of the generated strains. For these purposes, a strain of S. cerevisiae containing genes for xylose reductase, xylitol dehydrogenase and xylulokinase was used. The strain was subjected to mutagenesis followed by evolutionary engineering (repetitive batch and chemostat cultivation), which resulted in populations with improved ethanol yield, improved xylose conversion rate and increased inhibitor tolerance. The complex combination of different genetic alterations in the evolved populations will now be revealed using a DNA/RNA sequencing approach. The acquired knowledge of proteins and pathways important for efficient lignocellulosic bioethanol production will then hopefully allow directed engineering for further improvement of yeast performance.