Attractive non-GMO yeast for the bioethanol industry

: Cecilia Geijer, Fábio Faria-Oliveira

MSc. students: Rosita Pavone (March - August 2014); Antonella Carbone (September 2014 - March 2015), Alexander Plovie (September 2014 - June 2015)

The purpose of this project is to characterize a novel, non-genetically modified (non-GMO) yeast species for lignocellulosic bioethanol production.

Lignocellulosic biomass is playing a key role in the development of a sustainable bio-based economy. It represents the raw material for producing biofuels and other value-added compounds such as chemicals, materials or food-related products from a biorefinery perspective. However, the implementation at commercial scale of these technologies is still challenged by issues related to biomass fractionation (pretreatment and hydrolysis steps) and microbial robustness (fermentation stage).

A robust fermenting microorganism should be able to efficiently convert all the sugars that are present in lignocellulose (mainly glucose and xylose) and deal with the inhibitory compounds generated during biomass processing (furan derivatives, short chain organic acids and phenolic compounds). We have successfully isolated, characterized and sequenced the genome of the natural xylose-fermenting yeast Candida intermedia. Our results reveal an enriched xylose utilizing system (number of transporters and enzymes related to the pathway) that allows C. intermedia to assimilate xylose with faster rates than other related species.
In the present project, we will further investigate C. intermedia with the aim of elucidating the complete metabolic and physiological mechanisms that enable its fast xylose assimilation. Further, these features will be incorporated into Saccharomyces cerevisiae to improve xylose uptake and fermentation rates.

The project involves state-of-art omics tools, like genome and transcriptome sequencing, as well as genome editing methodologies, including CRISPR/Cas9.

The project is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten) within the “Biodrivmedelsprogram – Biokemiska metoder” specific subprogram.

Published: Wed 08 Jul 2015. Modified: Thu 08 Dec 2016