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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1993 Jan;59(1):231-5.

Characterization of Ethanol Production from Xylose and Xylitol by a Cell-Free Pachysolen tannophilus System.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, The Fermentation Facility, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294.


Whole cells and a cell extract of Pachysolen tannophilus converted xylose to xylitol, ethanol, and CO(2). The whole-cell system converted xylitol slowly to CO(2) and little ethanol was produced, whereas the cell-free system converted xylitol quantitatively to ethanol (1.64 mol of ethanol per mol of xylitol) and CO(2). The supernatant solution from high-speed centrifugation (100,000 x g) of the extract converted xylose to ethanol, but did not metabolize xylitol unless a membrane fraction and oxygen were also present. Fractionation of the crude cell extract by gel filtration resulted in an inactive fraction in which ethanol production from xylitol was fully restored by the addition of NAD and ADP. The continued conversion of xylose to xylitol in the presence of fluorocitrate, which inhibited aconitase, demonstrated that the tricarboxylic acid cycle was not the source of the electrons for the production of xylitol from xylose. Therefore, the source of the electrons is indirectly identified as an oxidative pentose-hexose cycle.

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