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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1989 Aug; 55(8): 1943–1948.
PMCID: PMC202984

Efficient ethanol production from glucose, lactose, and xylose by recombinant Escherichia coli.


Lactose and all of the major sugars (glucose, xylose, arabinose, galactose, and mannose) present in cellulose and hemicellulose were converted to ethanol by recombinant Escherichia coli containing plasmid-borne genes encoding the enzymes for the ethanol pathway from Zymomonas mobilis. Environmental tolerances, plasmid stability, expression of Z. mobilis pyruvate decarboxylase, substrate range, and ethanol production (from glucose, lactose, and xylose) were compared among eight American Type Culture Collection strains. E. coli ATCC 9637(pLO1297), ATCC 11303(pLO1297), and ATCC 15224(pLO1297) were selected for further development on the basis of environmental hardiness and ethanol production. Volumetric ethanol productivities per hour in batch culture were 1.4 g/liter for glucose (12%), 1.3 g/liter for lactose (12%), and 0.64 g/liter for xylose (8%). Ethanol productivities per hour ranged from 2.1 g/g of cell dry weight with 12% glucose to 1.3 g/g of cell dry weight with 8% xylose. The ethanol yield per gram of xylose was higher for recombinant E. coli than commonly reported for Saccharomyces cerevisiae with glucose. Glucose (12%), lactose (12%), and xylose (8%) were converted to (by volume) 7.2% ethanol, 6.5% ethanol, and 5.2% ethanol, respectively.

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Selected References

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