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Metab Eng. 2007 Jan;9(1):87-94. Epub 2006 Sep 16.

Hydrolysis and fermentation of amorphous cellulose by recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa.


In this study, we expressed two cellulase encoding genes, an endoglucanase of Trichoderma reesei (EGI) and the beta-glucosidase of Saccharomycopsis fibuligera (BGL1), in combination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The resulting strain was able to grow on phosphoric acid swollen cellulose (PASC) through simultaneous production of sufficient extracellular endoglucanase and beta-glucosidase activity. Anaerobic growth (0.03h(-1)) up to 0.27gl(-1) DCW was observed on medium containing 10gl(-1) PASC as sole carbohydrate source with concomitant ethanol production of up to 1.0gl(-1). We have thus demonstrated the construction of a yeast strain capable of growth on and one-step conversion of amorphous cellulose to ethanol, representing significant progress towards realization of one-step processing of cellulosic biomass in a consolidated bioprocessing configuration. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a recombinant strain of S. cerevisiae growing on pure cellulose.

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