Biofuels Conference summary

Monday

1. Furfural

This talk is about using bio-engineered e-coli strain to ferment furfural (into ethanol?).  LY180 is the wild type. EmFR17 and EmFR9 are the mutants, they have more furfural tolerance than the original strain. The Author run a Mircroarray Analysis of the RNA of the mutants, and found that genes that made the difference are yqhC and yqhD gene. Both genes have play a role in increased furfural tolerance of e-coli. Deletion of yqhC reduces activation of the yqhD promoter. yqhD and dkgA form an operon that responds to aldehydes. In conclusion, yqhD and DkgA are able to reduce furfural and HMF. Reduced yqhD expression increase the tolerance to furfural and HMF.

This is a difficult talk and lots of genes involved.

2. Industrial uses of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for ethanol production

Industrial strains of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are widely used for ethanol production. They usually ferment glucose to make ethanol, not cellulose. The author faction constructed a genetically stable strain of yeast that can turn cellulose into ethanol. The new strain has high tolerance to alcohol, a large range of fermentation temperatures and grows quickly. They incorporated several cellulase gene from different organisms into the strain. He said these strains produce ethanol in one step from different types of biomass without addition of extra cellulases. But he didn’t mention if the new strains are used in the industrial production of ethanol.

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