Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Yeasts Could Help Fast-Track Biofuel Production

Date:
August 4, 2009
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
A new yeast that makes ethanol from both five-carbon and six-carbon sugars without needing oxygen has now been developed. This could be an important breakthrough in industrial ethanol production, because it's difficult to control oxygen levels as yeasts ferment sugars into ethanol. The new yeast strain would help alleviate this problem.

A new yeast strain developed by ARS microbiologist Stephen Hughes (left) could be a breakthrough in ethanol production. Hughes and ARS technician John Jackson (right) use an automated "plasmid-based functional proteomic work cell" in their research.
Credit: Photo by Don Frasier

A new yeast that makes ethanol from both five-carbon and six-carbon sugars without needing oxygen has been developed by an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist.

This could be an important breakthrough in industrial ethanol production, because it’s difficult to control oxygen levels as yeasts ferment sugars into ethanol. The new yeast strain would help alleviate this problem.

Producers already make grain ethanol by using yeast to ferment six-carbon plant sugars like glucose. But cost-effective production of cellulosic ethanol will require using both six-carbon and five-carbon sugars in the process.

ARS molecular biologist Stephen Hughes developed the first yeast strain that doesn’t require oxygen to grow on xylose, a five-carbon plant sugar. Hughes works at the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Ill.

The new yeast doesn’t directly convert large quantities of xylose into ethanol. Instead, xylose provides energy the yeast needs to grow and reproduce without oxygen. This means that the glucose that might have been used by the yeast to grow and reproduce is now available for fermentation, and the rate of ethanol conversion increases.

To begin this research, Hughes developed a yeast strain containing a gene that makes an enzyme for converting xylose into ethanol. He added another gene to the strain so that the yeast could metabolize the xylose more efficiently.

Then Hughes created 6,113 different yeast strains that contained both genes, and screened all of the strains for traits for enhanced ethanol production. He found seven strains that were able to convert both glucose and xylose into ethanol without oxygen.

But the seven yeast strains had relatively low rates of xylose fermentation, so Hughes and his group screened the strains for genes that could step up xylose’s contribution to ethanol conversion in other ways. They found five genes associated with the enzyme that converts xylose into ethanol, and confirmed that these five genes play a critical role in yeast cell growth.

This research has been published in the August 2009 Journal of the Association of Laboratory Automation theme issue on biofuels research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "New Yeasts Could Help Fast-Track Biofuel Production." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090801193917.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2009, August 4). New Yeasts Could Help Fast-Track Biofuel Production. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090801193917.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "New Yeasts Could Help Fast-Track Biofuel Production." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090801193917.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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