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Simultaneous fermentation of biomass-derived sugars to ethanol by a co-culture of an engineered Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Wang, Liang, York, Sean W., Ingram, Lonnie O., Shanmugam, K.T.
Bioresource technology 2019 v.273 pp. 269-276
Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, biomass, coculture, ethanol, fermentation, glucose, slurries, sugarcane bagasse, xylose, yeasts
Microorganisms ferment xylose at high rate only when glucose concentration in the medium falls below a critical level. Since the specific productivity of product is highest during exponential to early stationary phase of growth, a glucose utilization negative ethanologenic E. coli (strain LW419a) was constructed for high rate of xylose fermentation in combination with Turbo yeast. This co-culture fermented all the released sugars in an acid/enzyme-treated sugar cane bagasse slurry (10% solids) to an ethanol titer of 24.9 ± 0.8 g.L−1 (70% of the theoretical yield) in <30 h. Ethanol titer increased to 48.6 ± 1.04 g.L−1 (yield, 0.45 g.g−1 sugars) at a solids content of 20% and the highest rate of xylose consumption was 1.58 ± 0.21 g.L−1.h−1. This study demonstrates the potential of a co-culture of strain LW419a and yeast to rapidly ferment all the sugars in pretreated biomass slurries to ethanol at their respective highest rates.