Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Super-fermenting Fungus Genome Sequenced; To Be Harnessed For Improved Biofuels Production

Date:
March 7, 2007
Source:
Joint Genome Institute
Summary:
On the road to making biofuels more economically competitive with fossil fuels, there are significant potholes to negotiate. For cellulosic ethanol production, one major detour has being addressed with the characterization of the genetic blueprint of the fungus Pichia stipitis, by the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) and collaborators at the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. The research is featured in the March 4 advanced online publication of Nature Biotechnology.

Pichia stipitis morphology under various conditions. (A) Pichia stipitis growing exponentially with bud scars; (B) P. stipitis hat-shaped spores seen from top and side; (C) Pseudomycelia formed under carbon-limited continuous culture.
Credit: Photo by Thomas Kuster, USDA, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory

On the road to making biofuels more economically competitive with fossil fuels, there are significant potholes to negotiate. For cellulosic ethanol production, one major detour has being addressed with the characterization of the genetic blueprint of the fungus Pichia stipitis, by the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) and collaborators at the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL). The research, entailing the identification of numerous genes in P. stipitis responsible for its fermenting and cellulose-bioconverting prowess, and an analysis of these metabolic pathways, is featured in the March 4 advanced online publication of Nature Biotechnology.

Related Articles


P. stipitis is the most proficient microbial fermenter in nature of the five-carbon "wood sugar" xylose--abundant in hardwoods and agricultural leftovers, which represent a motherlode of bioenergy fodder.

"Increasing the capacity of P. stipitis to ferment xylose and using this knowledge for improving xylose metabolism in other microbes, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, brewer's yeast, offers a strategy for improved production of cellulosic ethanol," said Eddy Rubin, DOE JGI Director. "In addition, this strategy could enhance the productivity and sustainability of agriculture and forestry by providing new outlets for agricultural and wood harvest residues."

Ligonocellulosic biomass, a complex of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, is derived from such plant-based "feedstocks" as agricultural waste, paper and pulp, wood chips, grasses, or trees such as poplar, recently sequenced by DOE JGI. Under current strategies for generating lignocellulosic ethanol, these forms of biomass require expensive and energy-intensive pretreatment with chemicals and/or heat to loosen up this complex. Enzymes are then employed to break down complex carbohydrate into sugars, such as glucose and xylose, which can then be fermented to produce ethanol. Additional energy is required for the distillation process to achieve a fuel-grade product. Now, the power of genomics is being directed to optimize this age-old process.

"The information embedded in the genome sequence of Pichia has helped us identify several gene targets to improve xylose metabolism," said Pichia paper lead author Thomas W. Jeffries of the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin. "We are now engineering these genes to increase ethanol production." Jeffries said that yeast strains like Pichia have evolved to cope with the oxygen-limited environment rich in partially digested wood that is encountered in the gut of insects, from where the sequenced strain was originally isolated.

FPL has a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) in place with a New York City-based bioenergy company, Xethanol Corporation, which plans to integrate Dr. Jeffries' findings into its large-scale biofuels production processes.

Pichia joins white rot fungus in the growing portfolio of bioenergy-relevant fungus genomes sequenced by DOE JGI through its user programs and contributed freely to the worldwide scientific community.

The JGI effort was led by the Microbial Program Lead and Genomics Technologies Program head Paul Richardson and included Igor Grigoriev, Andrea Aerts, Asaf Salamov, Erika Lindquist, Paramvir Dehal, Harris Shapiro, along with Jane Grimwood and Jeremy Schmutz of Stanford.

The DOE Joint Genome Institute, supported by the DOE Office of Science, unites the expertise of five national laboratories, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Pacific Northwest, along with the Stanford Human Genome Center to advance genomics in support of the DOE mission related to clean energy generation and environmental characterization and clean-up. DOE JGI's Walnut Creek, Calif. Production Genomics Facility provides integrated high-throughput sequencing and computational analysis that enable systems-based scientific approaches to these challenges. Additional information about DOE JGI can be found at: http://www.jgi.doe.gov/.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Joint Genome Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Joint Genome Institute. "Super-fermenting Fungus Genome Sequenced; To Be Harnessed For Improved Biofuels Production." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070305141222.htm>.
Joint Genome Institute. (2007, March 7). Super-fermenting Fungus Genome Sequenced; To Be Harnessed For Improved Biofuels Production. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070305141222.htm
Joint Genome Institute. "Super-fermenting Fungus Genome Sequenced; To Be Harnessed For Improved Biofuels Production." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070305141222.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Amazon Complains U.S. Is Too Slow To Regulate Drones

Amazon Complains U.S. Is Too Slow To Regulate Drones

Newsy (Mar. 25, 2015) Days after getting approval to test certain commercial drones, Amazon says the Federal Aviation Administration is dragging its feet on the matter. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Wants to Export Its Steel Problem

China Wants to Export Its Steel Problem

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) China is facing a crisis with a glut of steel and growing public anger over the pollution created by production. In a move to solve the problem, some steel mills are looking to relocate overseas. Jane Lanhee Lee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Stays on Its Feet Despite Punishment

Robot Stays on Its Feet Despite Punishment

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 24, 2015) Robotic engineers have modelled a two-legged robot to be fast and agile like an ostrich. The design is more efficient and stable than bipedal robots built to move like humans, according to its creators who abuse the poor machine to test its skills. Ben Gruber has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins