Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genomes Of Biofuel Yeasts Reveal Clues That Could Boost Fuel Ethanol Production Worldwide

Date:
November 6, 2009
Source:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Summary:
As global temperatures and energy costs continue to soar, renewable sources of energy will be key to a sustainable future. An attractive replacement for gasoline is biofuel, and in two new studies, scientists have analyzed the genome structures of bioethanol-producing microorganisms, uncovering genetic clues that will be critical in developing new technologies needed to implement production on a global scale.

As global temperatures and energy costs continue to soar, renewable sources of energy will be key to a sustainable future. An attractive replacement for gasoline is biofuel, and in two studies published online in Genome Research, scientists have analyzed the genome structures of bioethanol-producing microorganisms, uncovering genetic clues that will be critical in developing new technologies needed to implement production on a global scale.

Related Articles


Bioethanol is produced from the fermentation of plant material, such as sugar cane and corn, by the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, just as in the production of alcoholic beverages. However, yeast strains thriving in the harsh conditions of industrial fuel ethanol production are much more hardy than their beer brewing counterparts, and surprisingly little is known about how these yeast adapted to the industrial environment. If researchers can identify the genetic changes that underlie this adaptation, new yeast strains could be engineered to help shift bioethanol production into high gear across the globe.

Two studies published in Genome Research have taken a major step toward this goal, identifying genomic properties of industrial fuel yeasts that likely gave rise to more robust strains. In one of the studies, researcher Lucas Argueso and colleagues from Duke University and Brazil have sequenced and analyzed the structure of the entire genome of strain PE-2, a prominent industrial strain in Brazil. The group's work revealed that portions of the genome are plastic compared to other yeast strains, specifically the peripheral regions of chromosomes, where they observed a number of sequence rearrangements.

Interestingly, these chromosomal rearrangements in PE-2 amplified genes involved in stress tolerance, which likely contributed to the adaptation of this strain to the industrial environment. As PE-2 is amenable to genetic engineering, the authors believe that their work on PE-2 will open the door to development of new technologies to boost bioethanol production.

In a second study published in Genome Research, researchers from Stanford University and Brazil led by Boris Stambuk and Gavin Sherlock have also analyzed the genome structure of industrial bioethanol yeasts, searching for variations in the number of gene copies in five strains employed in Brazil, including PE-2. Stambuk and colleagues found that all five industrial strains studied harbor amplifications of genes involved in the synthesis of vitamins B6 and B1 -- compounds critical for efficient growth and utilization of sugar.

The group experimentally demonstrated that the gene amplifications confer robust growth in industrial conditions, indicating that these yeasts likely adapted to limited availability of vitamins in the industrial process to gain a competitive advantage. Furthermore, the authors suggest that this knowledge can be utilized to engineer new strains of yeast capable of even more efficient bioethanol production, from a wider range of agricultural stocks.

It is evident that an expanding human population will require more energy that exerts less impact on the environment, and the information gained from these genomic studies of industrial bioethanol yeasts will be invaluable as biofuel researchers optimize production and implement the technology worldwide.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Argueso JL, Carazzolle MF, Mieczkowski PA, Duarte FM, Netto OVC, Missawa SK, Galzerani F, Costa GGL, Vidal RO, Noronha MF, Dominska M, Andrietta MGS, Andrietta SR, Cunha AF, LH Gomes, Tavares FCA, Alcarde AR, Dietrich FS, McCusker JH, Petes TD, Pereira GAG. Genome structure of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain widely used in bioethanol production. Genome Research, 2009; DOI: 10.1101/gr.091777.109
  2. Stambuk BU, Dunn B, Alves Jr SL, Duval EH, Sherlock G. Industrial fuel ethanol yeasts contain adaptive copy number changes in genes involved in vitamin B1 and B6 biosynthesis. Genome Research, 2009; DOI: 10.1101/gr.094276.109

Cite This Page:

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Genomes Of Biofuel Yeasts Reveal Clues That Could Boost Fuel Ethanol Production Worldwide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091105172421.htm>.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. (2009, November 6). Genomes Of Biofuel Yeasts Reveal Clues That Could Boost Fuel Ethanol Production Worldwide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091105172421.htm
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Genomes Of Biofuel Yeasts Reveal Clues That Could Boost Fuel Ethanol Production Worldwide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091105172421.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) 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:

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