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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2006 Nov;90(4):391-418. Epub 2006 Oct 11.

Alcoholic fermentation of carbon sources in biomass hydrolysates by Saccharomyces cerevisiae: current status.

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Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 67, 2628, BC, Delft, The Netherlands.


Fuel ethanol production from plant biomass hydrolysates by Saccharomyces cerevisiae is of great economic and environmental significance. This paper reviews the current status with respect to alcoholic fermentation of the main plant biomass-derived monosaccharides by this yeast. Wild-type S. cerevisiae strains readily ferment glucose, mannose and fructose via the Embden-Meyerhof pathway of glycolysis, while galactose is fermented via the Leloir pathway. Construction of yeast strains that efficiently convert other potentially fermentable substrates in plant biomass hydrolysates into ethanol is a major challenge in metabolic engineering. The most abundant of these compounds is xylose. Recent metabolic and evolutionary engineering studies on S. cerevisiae strains that express a fungal xylose isomerase have enabled the rapid and efficient anaerobic fermentation of this pentose. L: -Arabinose fermentation, based on the expression of a prokaryotic pathway in S. cerevisiae, has also been established, but needs further optimization before it can be considered for industrial implementation. In addition to these already investigated strategies, possible approaches for metabolic engineering of galacturonic acid and rhamnose fermentation by S. cerevisiae are discussed. An emerging and major challenge is to achieve the rapid transition from proof-of-principle experiments under 'academic' conditions (synthetic media, single substrates or simple substrate mixtures, absence of toxic inhibitors) towards efficient conversion of complex industrial substrate mixtures that contain synergistically acting inhibitors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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