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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1996 Dec; 62(12): 4465–4470.
PMCID: PMC168273

Development of an arabinose-fermenting Zymomonas mobilis strain by metabolic pathway engineering.


The substrate fermentation range of the ethanologenic bacterium Zymomonas mobilis was expanded to include the pentose sugar, L-arabinose, which is commonly found in agricultural residues and other lignocellulosic biomass. Five genes, encoding L-arabinose isomerase (araA), L-ribulokinase (araB), L-ribulose-5-phosphate-4-epimerase (araD), transaldolase (talB), and transketolase (tktA), were isolated from Escherichia coli and introduced into Z. mobilis under the control of constitutive promoters that permitted their expression even in the presence of glucose. The engineered strain grew on and produced ethanol from L-arabinose as a sole C source at 98% of the maximum theoretical ethanol yield, based on the amount of consumed sugar. This indicates that arabinose was metabolized almost exclusively to ethanol as the sole fermentation product, with little by-product formation. Although no diauxic growth pattern was evident, the microorganism preferentially utilized glucose before arabinose, apparently reflecting the specificity of the indigenous facilitated diffusion transport system. This microorganism may be useful, along with the previously developed xylose-fermenting Z. mobilis (M. Zhang, C. Eddy, K. Deanda, M. Finkelstein, and S. Picataggio, Science 267:240-243, 1995), in a mixed culture for efficient fermentation of the predominant hexose and pentose sugars in agricultural residues and other lignocellulosic feedstocks to ethanol.

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Selected References

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