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Biotechnol Adv. 2013 Nov;31(6):851-61. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2013.03.004. Epub 2013 Mar 21.

Strain engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for enhanced xylose metabolism.

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Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


Efficient and rapid fermentation of all sugars present in cellulosic hydrolysates is essential for economic conversion of renewable biomass into fuels and chemicals. Xylose is one of the most abundant sugars in cellulosic biomass but it cannot be utilized by wild type Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which has been used for industrial ethanol production. Therefore, numerous technologies for strain development have been employed to engineer S. cerevisiae capable of fermenting xylose rapidly and efficiently. These include i) optimization of xylose-assimilating pathways, ii) perturbation of gene targets for reconfiguring yeast metabolism, and iii) simultaneous co-fermentation of xylose and cellobiose. In addition, the genetic and physiological background of host strains is an important determinant to construct efficient and rapid xylose-fermenting S. cerevisiae. Vibrant and persistent researches in this field for the last two decades not only led to the development of engineered S. cerevisiae strains ready for industrial fermentation of cellulosic hydrolysates, but also deepened our understanding of operational principles underlying yeast metabolism.


Bioethanol; Cellulosic biomass; Metabolic engineering; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Xylose

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