A future biobased society relies on the effective conversion of renewable raw materials to fuels, chemicals and materials. For an economically viable production of ethanol from lignocellulose, several process steps need to be optimized. This project aims to develop a new genetic method for integration and optimization of two process bottlenecks: hydrolysis and fermentation of biomass. The method is based on CRISPR/Cas9 technology for efficient, marker free genome editing in industrial xylose fermenting strains of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here, the method is used to create strains that can i) effectively hydrolyze cellulose (the main component of plant biomass) which drastically reduces the need for costly cellulolytic enzymes, and ii) simultaneously ferment cellobiose and xylose for an increased ethanol yield and profitability. In the future, the strains can be developed further into effective sugar platforms for production of advanced biofuels and valuable biochemicals.
The project is closed: 31/12/2020