Send to

Choose Destination
Biotechnol Prog. 1999 Sep-Oct;15(5):867-75.

Fermentations with new recombinant organisms.

Author information

Fermentation Biochemistry Research Unit, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, 1815 North University Street, Peoria, Illinois 61604, USA.


United States fuel ethanol production in 1998 exceeded the record production of 1.4 billion gallons set in 1995. Most of this ethanol was produced from over 550 million bushels of corn. Expanding fuel ethanol production will require developing lower-cost feedstocks, and only lignocellulosic feedstocks are available in sufficient quantities to substitute for corn starch. Major technical hurdles to converting lignocellulose to ethanol include the lack of low-cost efficient enzymes for saccharification of biomass to fermentable sugars and the development of microorganisms for the fermentation of these mixed sugars. To date, the most successful research approaches to develop novel biocatalysts that will efficiently ferment mixed sugar syrups include isolation of novel yeasts that ferment xylose, genetic engineering of Escherichia coli and other gram negative bacteria for ethanol production, and genetic engineering of Saccharoymces cerevisiae and Zymomonas mobilis for pentose utilization. We have evaluated the fermentation of corn fiber hydrolyzates by the various strains developed. E. coli K011, E. coli SL40, E. coli FBR3, Zymomonas CP4 (pZB5), and Saccharomyces 1400 (pLNH32) fermented corn fiber hydrolyzates to ethanol in the range of 21-34 g/L with yields ranging from 0.41 to 0.50 g of ethanol per gram of sugar consumed. Progress with new recombinant microorganisms has been rapid and will continue with the eventual development of organisms suitable for commercial ethanol production. Each research approach holds considerable promise, with the possibility existing that different "industrially hardened" strains may find separate applications in the fermentation of specific feedstocks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center