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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1991 Apr;57(4):893-900.

Genetic improvement of Escherichia coli for ethanol production: chromosomal integration of Zymomonas mobilis genes encoding pyruvate decarboxylase and alcohol dehydrogenase II.

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Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611.


Zymomonas mobilis genes for pyruvate decarboxylase (pdc) and alcohol dehydrogenase II (adhB) were integrated into the Escherichia coli chromosome within or near the pyruvate formate-lyase gene (pfl). Integration improved the stability of the Z. mobilis genes in E. coli, but further selection was required to increase expression. Spontaneous mutants were selected for resistance to high level of chloramphenicol that also expressed high levels of the Z. mobilis genes. Analogous mutants were selected for increased expression of alcohol dehydrogenase on aldehyde indicator plates. These mutants were functionally equivalent to the previous plasmid-based strains for the fermentation of xylose and glucose to ethanol. Ethanol concentrations of 54.4 and 41.6 g/liter were obtained from 10% glucose and 8% xylose, respectively. The efficiency of conversion exceeded theoretical limits (0.51 g of ethanol/g of sugar) on the basis of added sugars because of the additional production of ethanol from the catabolism of complex nutrients. Further mutations were introduced to inactivate succinate production (frd) and to block homologous recombination (recA).

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