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Picture of Novel Yeast Makes Bioconversion Faster and Less Expensive
Novel Yeast Makes Bioconversion Faster and Less Expensive

Title: Cofermentation of Glucose, Xylose, and Cellobiose by the Beetle-Associated Yeast Spathaspora passalidarum

Author: Long, Tanya M.; Su, Yi-Kai; Headman, Jennifer; Higbee, Alan; Willis, Laura B.; Jeffries, Thomas W.;

Date: 2012

Source: Applied and Environmental Microbiology p. 5492–5500 August 2012 Volume 78 Number 16; 2012.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Fermentation of cellulosic and hemicellulosic sugars from biomass could resolve food-versus-fuel conflicts inherent in the bioconversion of grains. However, the inability to coferment glucose and xylose is a major challenge to the economical use of lignocellulose as a feedstock. Simultaneous cofermentation of glucose, xylose, and cellobiose is problematic for most microbes because glucose represses utilization of the other saccharides. Surprisingly, the ascomycetous, beetle-associated yeast Spathaspora passalidarum, which ferments xylose and cellobiose natively, can also coferment these two sugars in the presence of 30 g/liter glucose. S. passalidarum simultaneously assimilates glucose and xylose aerobically, it simultaneously coferments glucose, cellobiose, and xylose with an ethanol yield of 0.42 g/g, and it has a specific ethanol production rate on xylose more than 3 times that of the corresponding rate on glucose. Moreover, an adapted strain of S. passalidarum produced 39 g/liter ethanol with a yield of 0.37 g/g sugars from a hardwood hydrolysate. Metabolome analysis of S. passalidarum before onset and during the fermentations of glucose and xylose showed that the flux of glycolytic intermediates is significantly higher on xylose than on glucose. The high affinity of its xylose reductase activities for NADH and xylose combined with allosteric activation of glycolysis probably accounts in part for its unusual capacities. These features make S. passalidarum very attractive for studying regulatory mechanisms enabling bioconversion of lignocellulosic materials by yeasts.

Keywords: Metabolic regulation, SSF, simultaneous saccharification, fermentation, passalid

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Long, Tanya M.; Su, Yi-Kai; Headman, Jennifer; Higbee, Alan; Willis, Laura B.; Jeffries, Thomas W. 2012. Cofermentation of glucose, xylose, and cellobiose by the beetle-associated yeast Spathaspora passalidarum. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 78(16): 5492–5500.


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