Sugarcane bagasse is a potential feedstock for cellulosic ethanol production, rich in both glucan and xylan. This stresses the importance of utilizing both C6 and C5 sugars for conversion into ethanol in order to improve the process economics. During processing of the hydrolysate degradation products such as acetate, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and furfural are formed, which are known to inhibit microbial growth at higher concentrations. In the current study, conversion of both glucose and xylose sugars into ethanol in wet exploded bagasse hydrolysates was investigated without detoxification using Scheffersomyces (Pichia) stipitis CBS6054, a native xylose utilizing yeast strain. The sugar utilization ratio and ethanol yield (Yp/s) ranged from 88-100% and 0.33-0.41 ± 0.02 g/g, respectively, in all the hydrolysates tested. Hydrolysate after wet explosion at 185°C and 6 bar O2, composed of mixed sugars (glucose and xylose) and inhibitors such as acetate, HMF and furfural at concentrations of 3.2 ± 0.1, 0.4 and 0.5 g/l, respectively, exhibited highest cell growth rate of 0.079 g/l/h and an ethanol yield of 0.39 ± 0.02 g/g sugar converted. Scheffersomyces stipitis exhibited prolonged fermentation time on bagasse hydrolysate after wet explosion at 200°C and 6 bar O2 where the inhibitors concentration was further increased. Nonetheless, ethanol was produced up to 18.7 ± 1.1 g/l resulting in a yield of 0.38 ± 0.02 g/g after 82 h of fermentation.
Scheffersomyces (Pichia) stipitis; Cellulosic ethanol; Sugarcane bagasse; Wet explosion pretreatment; Inhibitors; Xylose fermentation
XYL3, which encodes a d-xylulokinase (EC 18.104.22.168), was isolated from Pichia stipitis CBS 6054 genomic DNA by using primers designed against conserved motifs. Disruption of XYL3 eliminated d-xylulokinase activity, but d-ribulokinase activity was still present. Southern analysis of P. stipitis genomic DNA with XYL3 as a probe confirmed the disruption and did not reveal additional related genes. Disruption of XYL3 stopped ethanol production from xylose, but the resulting mutant still assimilated xylose slowly and formed xylitol and arabinitol. These results indicate that XYL3 is critical for ethanol production from xylose but that P. stipitis has another pathway for xylose assimilation. Expression of XYL3 using its P. stipitis promoter increased Saccharomyces cerevisiae d-xylulose consumption threefold and enabled the transformants to produce ethanol from a mixture of xylose and xylulose, whereas the parental strain only accumulated xylitol. In vitro, d-xylulokinase activity in recombinant S. cerevisiae was sixfold higher with a multicopy than with a single-copy XYL3 plasmid, but ethanol production decreased with increased copy number. These results confirmed the function of XYL3 in S. cerevisiae.
Pichia stipitis xylose reductase (Ps-XR) has been used to design Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains that are able to ferment xylose. One example is the industrial S. cerevisiae xylose-consuming strain TMB3400, which was constructed by expression of P. stipitis xylose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase and overexpression of endogenous xylulose kinase in the industrial S. cerevisiae strain USM21.
In this study, we demonstrate that strain TMB3400 not only converts xylose, but also displays higher tolerance to lignocellulosic hydrolysate during anaerobic batch fermentation as well as 3 times higher in vitro HMF and furfural reduction activity than the control strain USM21. Using laboratory strains producing various levels of Ps-XR, we confirm that Ps-XR is able to reduce HMF both in vitro and in vivo. Ps-XR overexpression increases the in vivo HMF conversion rate by approximately 20%, thereby improving yeast tolerance towards HMF. Further purification of Ps-XR shows that HMF is a substrate inhibitor of the enzyme.
We demonstrate for the first time that xylose reductase is also able to reduce the furaldehyde compounds that are present in undetoxified lignocellulosic hydrolysates. Possible implications of this newly characterized activity of Ps-XR on lignocellulosic hydrolysate fermentation are discussed.
This paper describes the first high-efficiency transformation system for the xylose-fermenting yeast Pichia stipitis. The system includes integrating and autonomously replicating plasmids based on the gene for orotidine-5'-phosphate decarboxylase (URA3) and an autonomous replicating sequence (ARS) element (ARS2) isolated from P. stipitis CBS 6054. Ura- auxotrophs were obtained by selecting for resistance to 5-fluoroorotic acid and were identified as ura3 mutants by transformation with P. stipitis URA3. P. stipitis URA3 was cloned by its homology to Saccharomyces cerevisiae URA3, with which it is 69% identical in the coding region. P. stipitis ARS elements were cloned functionally through plasmid rescue. These sequences confer autonomous replication when cloned into vectors bearing the P. stipitis URA3 gene. P. stipitis ARS2 has features similar to those of the consensus ARS of S. cerevisiae and other ARS elements. Circular plasmids bearing the P. stipitis URA3 gene with various amounts of flanking sequences produced 600 to 8,600 Ura+ transformants per micrograms of DNA by electroporation. Most transformants obtained with circular vectors arose without integration of vector sequences. One vector yielded 5,200 to 12,500 Ura+ transformants per micrograms of DNA after it was linearized at various restriction enzyme sites within the P. stipitis URA3 insert. Transformants arising from linearized vectors produced stable integrants, and integration events were site specific for the genomic ura3 in 20% of the transformants examined. Plasmids bearing the P. stipitis URA3 gene and ARS2 element produced more than 30,000 transformants per micrograms of plasmid DNA. Autonomously replicating plasmids were stable for at least 50 generations in selection medium and were present at an average of 10 copies per nucleus.
Ethanol reassimilation in Pichia stipitis CBS 6054 was studied by using continuous cultures, and the oxidation of [1-13C]ethanol was monitored by in vivo and in vitro 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Acetate was formed when ethanol was reassimilated. The ATP/ADP ratio and the carbon dioxide production decreased, whereas the malate dehydrogenase activity increased, in ethanol-reassimilating cells. The results are discussed in terms of the low ethanol tolerance in P. stipitis compared with that in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. W. Brown, S. G. Oliver, D. E. F. Harrison, and R. C. Righelato, Eur. J. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 11:151-155, 1981).
Saccharomyces cerevisiae was metabolically engineered for xylose utilization. The Pichia stipitis CBS 6054 genes XYL1 and XYL2 encoding xylose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase were cloned into S. cerevisiae. The gene products catalyze the two initial steps in xylose utilization which S. cerevisiae lacks. In order to increase the flux through the pentose phosphate pathway, the S. cerevisiae TKL1 and TAL1 genes encoding transketolase and transaldolase were overexpressed. A XYL1- and XYL2-containing S. cerevisiae strain overexpressing TAL1 (S104-TAL) showed considerably enhanced growth on xylose compared with a strain containing only XYL1 and XYL2. Overexpression of only TKL1 did not influence growth. The results indicate that the transaldolase level in S. cerevisiae is insufficient for the efficient utilization of pentose phosphate pathway metabolites. Mixtures of xylose and glucose were simultaneously consumed with the recombinant strain S104-TAL. The rate of xylose consumption was higher in the presence of glucose. Xylose was used for growth and xylitol formation, but not for ethanol production. Decreased oxygenation resulted in impaired growth and increased xylitol formation. Fermentation with strain S103-TAL, having a xylose reductase/xylitol dehydrogenase ratio of 0.5:30 compared with 4.2:5.8 for S104-TAL, did not prevent xylitol formation.
Selection of the raw material and its efficient utilization are the critical factors in economization of second generation (2G) ethanol production. Fermentation of the released sugars into ethanol by a suitable ethanol producing microorganism using cheap media ingredients is the cornerstone of the overall process. This study evaluated the potential of rice bran extract (RBE) as a cheap nitrogen source for the production of 2G ethanol by Scheffersomyces (Pichia) stipitis NRRL Y-7124 using sugarcane bagasse (SB) hemicellulosic hydrolysate. Dilute acid hydrolysis of SB showed 12.45 g/l of xylose and 0.67 g/l of glucose along with inhibitors. It was concentrated by vacuum evaporation and submitted to sequential detoxification (neutralization by calcium hydroxide and charcoal adsorption). The detoxified hydrolysate revealed the removal of furfural (81 %) and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (61 %) leading to the final concentration of glucose (1.69 g/l) and xylose (33.03 g/l). S. stipitis was grown in three different fermentation media composed of detoxified hydrolysate as carbon source supplemented with varying nitrogen sources i.e. medium #1 (RBE + ammonium sulfate + calcium chloride), medium #2 (yeast extract + peptone) and medium #3 (yeast extract + peptone + malt extract). Medium #1 showed maximum ethanol production (8.6 g/l, yield 0.22 g/g) followed by medium #2 (8.1 g/l, yield 0.19 g/g) and medium #3 (7.4 g/l, yield 0.18 g/g).
Rice bran extract; Bioethanol; Scheffersomyces stipitis NRRL Y-7124; Sugarcane bagasse; Nitrogen source
The effect of oxygen limitation on xylose fermentation by Pichia stipitis (CBS 6054) was investigated in continuous culture. The maximum specific ethanol productivity (0.20 g of ethanol g dry weight−1 h−1) and ethanol yield (0.48 g/g) was reached at an oxygen transfer rate below 1 mmol/liter per h. In the studied range of oxygenation, the xylose reductase (EC 22.214.171.124) and xylitol dehydrogenase (EC 126.96.36.199) activities were constant as well as the ratio between the NADPH and NADH activities of xylose reductase. No xylitol production was found. The pyruvate decarboxylase (EC 188.8.131.52) activity increased and the malate dehydrogenase (EC 184.108.40.206) activity decreased with decreasing oxygenation. With decreasing oxygenation, the intracellular intermediary metabolites sedoheptulose 7-phosphate, glucose 6-phosphate, fructose 1,6-diphosphate, and malate accumulated slightly while pyruvate decreased. The ratio of the xylose uptake rate under aerobic conditions, in contrast to that under anaerobic assay conditions, increased with increasing oxygenation in the culture. The results are discussed in relation to the energy level in the cell, the redox balance, and the mitochondrial function.
The various strains of Scheffersomyces stipitis (Pichia stipitis) differ substantially with respect to their ability to ferment xylose into ethanol. Two P. stipitis strains CBS 5773 and CBS 6054 have been most often used in literature but comparison of their performance in xylose fermentation under identical conditions has not been reported so far. Conversion of xylose (22 g/L) by each of these P. stipitis strain was analyzed under anaerobic and microaerobic conditions. Ethanol yields of ∼0.41 g/g were independent of strain and conditions used. Glycerol and acetate were formed in constant yields of 0.006 g/g and 0.02 g/g, respectively. Xylitol formation decreased from ∼0.08 g/g to ∼0.05 g/g upon switch from anaerobic to microaerobic conditions. Specific activities of enzymes of the two-step oxidoreductive xylose conversion pathway (xylose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase) matched for both strains within limits of error. When xylose was offered at 76 g/L under microaerobic reaction conditions, ethanol yields were still high (0.37–0.39 g/g) for both strains even though the xylitol yields (0.12–0.13 g/g) were increased as compared to the conditions of low xylose concentration. P. stipitis strains CBS 5773 and CBS 6054 are therefore identical by the criteria selected and show useful performance during conversion of xylose into ethanol, irrespective of the supply of oxygen.
CBS 5773; CBS 6054; ethanol; Pichia stipitis; Scheffersomyces stipitis; xylose
Two heterologous pathways have been used to construct recombinant xylose-fermenting Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains: i) the xylose reductase (XR) and xylitol dehydrogenase (XDH) pathway and ii) the xylose isomerase (XI) pathway. In the present study, the Pichia stipitis XR-XDH pathway and the Piromyces XI pathway were compared in an isogenic strain background, using a laboratory host strain with genetic modifications known to improve xylose fermentation (overexpressed xylulokinase, overexpressed non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway and deletion of the aldose reductase gene GRE3). The two isogenic strains and the industrial xylose-fermenting strain TMB 3400 were studied regarding their xylose fermentation capacity in defined mineral medium and in undetoxified lignocellulosic hydrolysate.
In defined mineral medium, the xylose consumption rate, the specific ethanol productivity, and the final ethanol concentration were significantly higher in the XR- and XDH-carrying strain, whereas the highest ethanol yield was achieved with the strain carrying XI. While the laboratory strains only fermented a minor fraction of glucose in the undetoxified lignocellulose hydrolysate, the industrial strain TMB 3400 fermented nearly all the sugar available. Xylitol was formed by the XR-XDH-carrying strains only in mineral medium, whereas in lignocellulose hydrolysate no xylitol formation was detected.
Despite by-product formation, the XR-XDH xylose utilization pathway resulted in faster ethanol production than using the best presently reported XI pathway in the strain background investigated. The need for robust industrial yeast strains for fermentation of undetoxified spruce hydrolysates was also confirmed.
Production of ethanol and xylitol from lignocellulosic hydrolysates is an alternative to the traditional production of ethanol in utilizing biomass. However, the conversion efficiency of xylose to xylitol is restricted by glucose repression, causing a low xylitol titer. To this end, we cloned genes CDT-1 (encoding a cellodextrin transporter) and gh1-1 (encoding an intracellular β-glucosidase) from Neurospora crassa and XYL1 (encoding a xylose reductase that converts xylose into xylitol) from Scheffersomyces stipitis into Saccharomyces cerevisiae, enabling simultaneous production of ethanol and xylitol from a mixture of cellobiose and xylose (main components of lignocellulosic hydrolysates). We further optimized the expression levels of CDT-1 and XYL1 by manipulating their promoters and copy-numbers, and constructed an engineered S. cerevisiae strain (carrying one copy of PGK1p-CDT1 and two copies of TDH3p-XYL1), which showed an 85.7% increase in xylitol production from the mixture of cellobiose and xylose than that from the mixture of glucose and xylose. Thus, we achieved a balanced co-fermentation of cellobiose (0.165 g/L/h) and xylose (0.162 g/L/h) at similar rates to co-produce ethanol (0.36 g/g) and xylitol (1.00 g/g).
A decreased fermentation rate due to inhibition is a significant problem for economic conversion of acid-pretreated lignocellulose hydrolysates to ethanol, since the inhibition gives rise to a requirement for separate detoxification steps. Together with acetic acid, the sugar degradation products furfural and 5-hydroxymethyl furfural are the inhibiting compounds found at the highest concentrations in hydrolysates. These aldehydes have been shown to affect both the specific growth rate and the rate of fermentation by yeast. Two strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae with different abilities to ferment inhibiting hydrolysates were evaluated in fermentations of a dilute acid hydrolysate from spruce, and the reducing activities for furfural and 5-hydroxymethyl furfural were determined. Crude cell extracts of a hydrolysate-tolerant strain (TMB3000) converted both furfural and 5-hydroxymethyl furfural to the corresponding alcohol at a rate that was severalfold higher than the rate observed for cell extracts of a less tolerant strain (CBS 8066), thereby confirming that there is a correlation between the fermentation rate in a lignocellulosic hydrolysate and the bioconversion capacity of a strain. The in vitro NADH-dependent furfural reduction capacity of TMB3000 was three times higher than that of CBS 8066 (1,200 mU/mg protein and 370 mU/mg protein, respectively) in fed-batch experiments. Furthermore, the inhibitor-tolerant strain TMB3000 displayed a previously unknown NADH-dependent reducing activity for 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (400 mU/mg protein during fed-batch fermentation of hydrolysates). No corresponding activity was found in strain CBS 8066 (<2 mU/mg). The ability to reduce 5-hydroxymethyl furfural is an important characteristic for the development of yeast strains with increased tolerance to lignocellulosic hydrolysates.
The absence of pentose-utilizing enzymes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an obstacle for efficiently converting lignocellulosic materials to ethanol. In the present study, the genes coding xylose reductase (XYL1) and xylitol dehydrogenase (XYL2) from Pichia stipitis were successfully engineered into S. cerevisae. As compared to the control transformant, engineering of XYL1 and XYL2 into yeasts significantly increased the microbial biomass (8.1 vs. 3.4 g/L), xylose consumption rate (0.15 vs. 0.02 g/h) and ethanol yield (6.8 vs. 3.5 g/L) after 72 h fermentation using a xylose-based medium. Interestingly, engineering of XYL1 and XYL2 into yeasts also elevated the ethanol yield from sugarcane bagasse hydrolysate (SUBH). This study not only provides an effective approach to increase the xylose utilization by yeasts, but the results also suggest that production of ethanol by this recombinant yeasts using unconventional nutrient sources, such as components in SUBH deserves further attention in the future.
Xylose; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Xylose reductase; Xylitol dehydrogenase; Ethanol
Two genes coding for isozymes of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH); designated PsADH1 and PsADH2, have been identified and isolated from Pichia stipitis CBS 6054 genomic DNA by Southern hybridization to Saccharomyces cerevisiae ADH genes, and their physiological roles have been characterized through disruption. The amino acid sequences of the PsADH1 and PsADH2 isozymes are 80.5% identical to one another and are 71.9 and 74.7% identical to the S. cerevisiae ADH1 protein. They also show a high level identity with the group I ADH proteins from Kluyveromyces lactis. The PsADH isozymes are presumably localized in the cytoplasm, as they do not possess the amino-terminal extension of mitochondrion-targeted ADHs. Gene disruption studies suggest that PsADH1 plays a major role in xylose fermentation because PsADH1 disruption results in a lower growth rate and profoundly greater accumulation of xylitol. Disruption of PsADH2 does not significantly affect ethanol production or aerobic growth on ethanol as long as PsADH1 is present. The PsADH1 and PsADH2 isozymes appear to be equivalent in the ability to convert ethanol to acetaldehyde, and either is sufficient to allow cell growth on ethanol. However, disruption of both genes blocks growth on ethanol. P. stipitis strains disrupted in either PsADH1 or PsADH2 still accumulate ethanol, although in different amounts, when grown on xylose under oxygen-limited conditions. The PsADH double disruptant, which is unable to grow on ethanol, still produces ethanol from xylose at about 13% of the rate seen in the parental strain. Thus, deletion of both PsADH1 and PsADH2 blocks ethanol respiration but not production, implying a separate path for fermentation.
As one of the best xylose utilization microorganisms, Scheffersomyces stipitis exhibits great potential for the efficient lignocellulosic biomass fermentation. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of its unique physiological and metabolic characteristics is required to further improve its performance on cellulosic ethanol production.
A constraint-based genome-scale metabolic model for S. stipitis CBS 6054 was developed on the basis of its genomic, transcriptomic and literature information. The model iTL885 consists of 885 genes, 870 metabolites, and 1240 reactions. During the reconstruction process, 36 putative sugar transporters were reannotated and the metabolisms of 7 sugars were illuminated. Essentiality study was conducted to predict essential genes on different growth media. Key factors affecting cell growth and ethanol formation were investigated by the use of constraint-based analysis. Furthermore, the uptake systems and metabolic routes of xylose were elucidated, and the optimization strategies for the overproduction of ethanol were proposed from both genetic and environmental perspectives.
Systems biology modelling has proven to be a powerful tool for targeting metabolic changes. Thus, this systematic investigation of the metabolism of S. stipitis could be used as a starting point for future experiment designs aimed at identifying the metabolic bottlenecks of this important yeast.
Scheffersomyces stipitis; Genome-scale metabolic model; Constraint-based simulation; Xylose utilization; Ethanol production
The metabolism of glucose and xylose as a function of oxygenation in Pichia stipitis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell suspensions was studied by 31P and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The rate of both glucose and xylose metabolism was slightly higher and the production of ethanol was slightly lower in aerobic than in anoxic cell suspensions of P. stipitis. As well, the cytoplasmic pH of oxygenated cells was more alkaline than that of nonoxygenated cells. In contrast, in S. cerevisiae, the intracellular pH and the rate of glucose metabolism and ethanol production were the same under aerobic and anoxic conditions. Agarose-immobilized Pichia stipitis was able to metabolize xylose or glucose for 24 to 60 h at rates and with theoretical yields of ethanol similar to those obtained with anoxic cell suspensions. Cell growth within the beads, however, was severely compromised. The intracellular pH [pH(int)] of the entrapped cells fell to more acidic pH values in the course of the perfusions relative to corresponding cell suspensions. Of importance was the observation that no enhancement in the rate of carbohydrate metabolism occurred in response to changes in the pH(int) value. In contrast to P. stipitis, agarose-immobilized Saccharomyces cerevisiae showed a dramatic twofold increase in its ability to metabolize glucose in the immobilized state relative to cell suspensions. This strain was also able to grow within the beads, although the doubling time for the entrapped cells was longer, by a factor of 2, than the value obtained for log-phase batch cultures. Initially, the pH(int) of the immobilized cells was more alkaline than was observed with the corresponding S. cerevisiae cell suspensions; however, over time, the intracellular pH became increasingly acidic. As with immobilized P. stipitis, however, the pH(int) did not play a key role in controlling the rate of glucose metabolism.
For ethanol production from lignocellulose, the fermentation of xylose is an economic necessity. Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been metabolically engineered with a xylose-utilizing pathway. However, the high ethanol yield and productivity seen with glucose have not yet been achieved. To quantitatively analyze metabolic fluxes in recombinant S. cerevisiae during metabolism of xylose-glucose mixtures, we constructed a stable xylose-utilizing recombinant strain, TMB 3001. The XYL1 and XYL2 genes from Pichia stipitis, encoding xylose reductase (XR) and xylitol dehydrogenase (XDH), respectively, and the endogenous XKS1 gene, encoding xylulokinase (XK), under control of the PGK1 promoter were integrated into the chromosomal HIS3 locus of S. cerevisiae CEN.PK 113-7A. The strain expressed XR, XDH, and XK activities of 0.4 to 0.5, 2.7 to 3.4, and 1.5 to 1.7 U/mg, respectively, and was stable for more than 40 generations in continuous fermentations. Anaerobic ethanol formation from xylose by recombinant S. cerevisiae was demonstrated for the first time. However, the strain grew on xylose only in the presence of oxygen. Ethanol yields of 0.45 to 0.50 mmol of C/mmol of C (0.35 to 0.38 g/g) and productivities of 9.7 to 13.2 mmol of C h−1 g (dry weight) of cells−1 (0.24 to 0.30 g h−1 g [dry weight] of cells−1) were obtained from xylose-glucose mixtures in anaerobic chemostat cultures, with a dilution rate of 0.06 h−1. The anaerobic ethanol yield on xylose was estimated at 0.27 mol of C/(mol of C of xylose) (0.21 g/g), assuming a constant ethanol yield on glucose. The xylose uptake rate increased with increasing xylose concentration in the feed, from 3.3 mmol of C h−1 g (dry weight) of cells−1 when the xylose-to-glucose ratio in the feed was 1:3 to 6.8 mmol of C h−1 g (dry weight) of cells−1 when the feed ratio was 3:1. With a feed content of 15 g of xylose/liter and 5 g of glucose/liter, the xylose flux was 2.2 times lower than the glucose flux, indicating that transport limits the xylose flux.
Pretreatment of biomass for lignocellulosic ethanol production generates compounds that can inhibit microbial metabolism. The furan aldehydes hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and furfural have received increasing attention recently. In the present study, the effects of HMF and furfural on redox metabolism, energy metabolism and gene expression were investigated in anaerobic chemostats where the inhibitors were added to the feed-medium.
By cultivating the xylose-utilizing Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain VTT C-10883 in the presence of HMF and furfural, it was found that the intracellular concentrations of the redox co-factors and the catabolic and anabolic reduction charges were significantly lower in the presence of furan aldehydes than in cultivations without inhibitors. The catabolic reduction charge decreased from 0.13(±0.005) to 0.08(±0.002) and the anabolic reduction charge decreased from 0.46(±0.11) to 0.27(±0.02) when HMF and furfural were present. The intracellular ATP concentration was lower when inhibitors were added, but resulted only in a modest decrease in the energy charge from 0.87(±0.002) to 0.85(±0.004) compared to the control. Transcriptome profiling followed by MIPS functional enrichment analysis of up-regulated genes revealed that the functional group “Cell rescue, defense and virulence” was over-represented when inhibitors were present compared to control cultivations. Among these, the ATP-binding efflux pumps PDR5 and YOR1 were identified as important for inhibitor efflux and possibly a reason for the lower intracellular ATP concentration in stressed cells. It was also found that genes involved in pseudohyphal growth were among the most up-regulated when inhibitors were present in the feed-medium suggesting nitrogen starvation. Genes involved in amino acid metabolism, glyoxylate cycle, electron transport and amino acid transport were enriched in the down-regulated gene set in response to HMF and furfural. It was hypothesized that the HMF and furfural-induced NADPH drainage could influence ammonia assimilation and thereby give rise to the nitrogen starvation response in the form of pseudohyphal growth and down-regulation of amino acid synthesis.
The redox metabolism was severely affected by HMF and furfural while the effects on energy metabolism were less evident, suggesting that engineering of the redox system represents a possible strategy to develop more robust strains for bioethanol production.
Lignocellulosic ethanol; HMF; Furfural; Inhibitors; Redox metabolism; Energy metabolism
In Pichia stipitis, fermentative and pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC) activities increase with diminished oxygen rather than in response to fermentable sugars. To better characterize PDC expression and regulation, two genes for PDC (PsPDC1 and PsPDC2) were cloned and sequenced from P. stipitis CBS 6054. Aside from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, from which three PDC genes have been characterized, P. stipitis is the only organism from which multiple genes for PDC have been identified and characterized. PsPDC1 and PsPDC2 have diverged almost as far from one another as they have from the next most closely related known yeast gene. PsPDC1 contains an open reading frame of 1,791 nucleotides encoding 597 amino acids. PsPDC2 contains a reading frame of 1,710 nucleotides encoding 570 amino acids. An 81-nucleotide segment in the middle of the β domain of PsPDC1 codes for a unique segment of 27 amino acids, which may play a role in allosteric regulation. The 5′ regions of both P. stipitis genes include two putative TATA elements that make them similar to the PDC genes from S. cerevisiae, Kluyveromyces marxianus, and Hanseniaspora uvarum.
A key step in any process that converts lignocellulose to biofuels is the efficient fermentation of both hexose and pentose sugars. The co-culture of respiratory-deficient Saccharomyces cerevisiae and wild-type Scheffersomyces stipitis has been identified as a promising system for microaerobic ethanol production because S. cerevisiae only consumes glucose while S. stipitis efficiently converts xylose to ethanol.
To better predict how these two yeasts behave in batch co-culture and to optimize system performance, a dynamic flux balance model describing co-culture metabolism was developed from genome-scale metabolic reconstructions of the individual organisms. First a dynamic model was developed for each organism by estimating substrate uptake kinetic parameters from batch pure culture data and evaluating model extensibility to different microaerobic growth conditions. The co-culture model was constructed by combining the two individual models assuming a cellular objective of total growth rate maximization. To obtain accurate predictions of batch co-culture data collected at different microaerobic conditions, the S. cerevisiae maximum glucose uptake rate was reduced from its pure culture value to account for more efficient S. stipitis glucose uptake in co-culture. The dynamic co-culture model was used to predict the inoculum concentration and aeration level that maximized batch ethanol productivity. The model predictions were validated with batch co-culture experiments performed at the optimal conditions. Furthermore, the dynamic model was used to predict how engineered improvements to the S. stipitis xylose transport system could improve co-culture ethanol production.
These results demonstrate the utility of the dynamic co-culture metabolic model for guiding process and metabolic engineering efforts aimed at increasing microaerobic ethanol production from glucose/xylose mixtures.
Co-culture; Cellulosic ethanol; Fermentation; Mathematical modeling; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Scheffersomyces stipitis
Lignocellulosic biomass conversion inhibitors, furfural and HMF, inhibit microbial growth and interfere with subsequent fermentation of ethanol, posing significant challenges for a sustainable cellulosic ethanol conversion industry. Numerous yeast genes were found to be associated with the inhibitor tolerance. However, limited knowledge is available about mechanisms of the tolerance and the detoxification of the biomass conversion inhibitors. Using a robust standard for absolute mRNA quantification assay and a recently developed tolerant ethanologenic yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae NRRL Y-50049, we investigate pathway-based transcription profiles relevant to the yeast tolerance and the inhibitor detoxification. Under the synergistic inhibitory challenges by furfural and HMF, Y-50049 was able to withstand the inhibitor stress, in situ detoxify furfural and HMF, and produce ethanol, while its parental control Y-12632 failed to function till 65 h after incubation. The tolerant strain Y-50049 displayed enriched genetic background with significantly higher abundant of transcripts for at least 16 genes than a non-tolerant parental strain Y-12632. The enhanced expression of ZWF1 appeared to drive glucose metabolism in favor of pentose phosphate pathway over glycolysis at earlier steps of glucose metabolisms. Cofactor NAD(P)H generation steps were likely accelerated by enzymes encoded by ZWF1, GND1, GND2, TDH1, and ALD4. NAD(P)H-dependent aldehyde reductions including conversion of furfural and HMF, in return, provided sufficient NAD(P)+ for NAD(P)H regeneration in the yeast detoxification pathways. Enriched genetic background and a well maintained redox balance through reprogrammed expression responses of Y-50049 were accountable for the acquired tolerance and detoxification of furfural to furan methanol and HMF to furan dimethanol. We present significant gene interactions and regulatory networks involved in NAD(P)H regenerations and functional aldehyde reductions under the inhibitor stress.
Gene expression; Lignocellulosic ethanol; Pathway analysis; qRT-PCR standard; Stress tolerance
Hydrolysates of plant biomass used for the production of lignocellulosic biofuels typically contain sugar mixtures consisting mainly of D-glucose and D-xylose, and minor amounts of L-arabinose. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the preferred microorganism for the fermentative production of ethanol but is not able to ferment pentose sugars. Although D-xylose and L-arabinose fermenting S. cerevisiae strains have been constructed recently, pentose uptake is still a limiting step in mixed sugar fermentations.
Here we described the cloning and characterization of two sugar transporters, AraT from the yeast Scheffersomyces stipitis and Stp2 from the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, which mediate the uptake of L-arabinose but not of D-glucose into S. cerevisiae cells. A yeast strain lacking all of its endogenous hexose transporter genes and expressing a bacterial L-arabinose utilization pathway could no longer take up and grow with L-arabinose as the only carbon source. Expression of the heterologous transporters supported uptake and utilization of L-arabinose especially at low L-arabinose concentrations but did not, or only very weakly, support D-glucose uptake and utilization. In contrast, the S. cerevisiae D-galactose transporter, Gal2, mediated uptake of both L-arabinose and D-glucose, especially at high concentrations.
Using a newly developed screening system we have identified two heterologous sugar transporters from a yeast and a plant which can support uptake and utilization of L-arabinose in L-arabinose fermenting S. cerevisiae cells, especially at low L-arabinose concentrations.
Baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) has been engineered for xylose utilization to enable production of fuel ethanol from lignocellulose raw material. One unresolved challenge is that S. cerevisiae lacks a dedicated transport system for pentose sugars, which means that xylose is transported by non-specific Hxt transporters with comparatively low transport rate and affinity for xylose.
In this study, we compared three heterologous xylose transporters that have recently been shown to improve xylose uptake under different experimental conditions. The transporters Gxf1, Sut1 and At5g59250 from Candida intermedia, Pichia stipitis and Arabidopsis thaliana, respectively, were expressed in isogenic strains of S. cerevisiae and the transport kinetics and utilization of xylose was evaluated. Expression of the Gxf1 and Sut1 transporters led to significantly increased affinity and transport rates of xylose. In batch cultivation at 4 g/L xylose concentration, improved transport kinetics led to a corresponding increase in xylose utilization, whereas no correlation could be demonstrated at xylose concentrations greater than 15 g/L. The relative contribution of native sugar transporters to the overall xylose transport capacity was also estimated during growth on glucose and xylose.
Kinetic characterization and aerobic batch cultivation of strains expressing the Gxf1, Sut1 and At5g59250 transporters showed a direct relationship between transport kinetics and xylose growth. The Gxf1 transporter had the highest transport capacity and the highest xylose growth rate, followed by the Sut1 transporter. The range in which transport controlled the growth rate was determined to between 0 and 15 g/L xylose. The role of catabolite repression in regulation of native transporters was also confirmed by the observation that xylose transport by native S. cerevisiae transporters increased significantly during cultivation in xylose and at low glucose concentration.
The induction of xylose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase activities on mixed sugars was investigated in the yeasts Pachysolen tannophilus and Pichia stipitis. Enzyme activities induced on d-xylose served as the controls. In both yeasts, d-glucose, d-mannose, and 2-deoxyglucose inhibited enzyme induction by d-xylose to various degrees. Cellobiose, l-arabinose, and d-galactose were not inhibitory. In liquid batch culture, P. tannophilus utilized d-glucose and d-mannose rapidly and preferentially over d-xylose, while d-galactose consumption was poor and lagged behind that of the pentose sugar. In P. stipitis, all three hexoses were used preferentially over d-xylose. The results showed that the repressibility of xylose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase may limit the potential of yeast fermentation of pentose sugars in hydrolysates of lignocellulosic substrates.
Cost-effective fermentation of lignocellulosic hydrolysate to ethanol by Saccharomyces cerevisiae requires efficient mixed sugar utilization. Notably, the rate and yield of xylose and arabinose co-fermentation to ethanol must be enhanced.
Evolutionary engineering was used to improve the simultaneous conversion of xylose and arabinose to ethanol in a recombinant industrial Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain carrying the heterologous genes for xylose and arabinose utilization pathways integrated in the genome. The evolved strain TMB3130 displayed an increased consumption rate of xylose and arabinose under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Improved anaerobic ethanol production was achieved at the expense of xylitol and glycerol but arabinose was almost stoichiometrically converted to arabitol. Further characterization of the strain indicated that the selection pressure during prolonged continuous culture in xylose and arabinose medium resulted in the improved transport of xylose and arabinose as well as increased levels of the enzymes from the introduced fungal xylose pathway. No mutation was found in any of the genes from the pentose converting pathways.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that characterizes the molecular mechanisms for improved mixed-pentose utilization obtained by evolutionary engineering of a recombinant S. cerevisiae strain. Increased transport of pentoses and increased activities of xylose converting enzymes contributed to the improved phenotype.