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Bioeng Bugs. 2010 Nov-Dec;1(6):424-8. doi: 10.4161/bbug.1.6.12724.

Metabolic engineering for improved microbial pentose fermentation.

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  • 1IBB-Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering; Centre of Biological Engineering, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal.


Global concern over the depletion of fossil fuel reserves, and the detrimental impact that combustion of these materials has on the environment, is focusing attention on initiatives to create sustainable approaches for the production and use of biofuels from various biomass substrates. The development of a low-cost, safe and eco-friendly process for the utilization of renewable resources to generate value-added products with biotechnological potential as well as robust microorganisms capable of efficient fermentation of all types of sugars are essential to underpin the economic production of biofuels from biomass feedstocks. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the most established fermentation yeast used in large scale bioconversion strategies, does not however metabolise the pentose sugars, xylose and arabinose and bioengineering is required for introduction of efficient pentose metabolic pathways and pentose sugar transport proteins for bioconversion of these substrates. Our approach provided a basis for future experiments that may ultimately lead to the development of industrial S. cerevisiae strains engineered to express pentose metabolising proteins from thermophilic fungi living on decaying plant material and here we expand our original article and discuss the strategies implemented to improve pentose fermentation.

© 2010 Landes Bioscience


cofactor imbalance; metabolic engineering; pentose fermentation

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