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Designed yeast for renewable bioethanol production


The objective of the proposed research is to design efficient yeast strains to be used for the production of bioethanol from renewable resources. Bioethanol from lignocellulosics is a friendly alternative to fossil fuels that could significantly reduce net atmospheric CO2 emission and contribute to the geopolitical objective of reducing energy imports.

However, the production cost of bioethanol from various raw materials must be reduced to become an economically feasible alternative. This includes the design of yeast strains that are able to utilise the pentoses xylose and arabinose, that represent a significant amount of lignocellulosic sugars, for the fermentation to ethanol.

The research project proposes to combine the most successful strategies for xylose and arabinose utilisation in an industrial Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain, for further use in bioethanol pilot plants.

Various combinations of xylose and arabinose pathways that were each independently evaluated in yeast will be introduced in one of the best industrial yeast that is currently available for the fermentation of lignocellulosics. The newly developed strains will be thoroughly physiologically characterised for mixed sugar fermentations using well-controlled bioreactors.

A metabolic flux mode l including arabinose and xylose pathways will be designed and used to quantify intracellular fluxes in order to decipher the interactions resulting from simultaneous conversion of both pentoses. The strain development will be performed in collaboration with chemical engineers, in order to satisfy the criteria of real fermentation conditions.

Finally, the most promising strains will be tested in larger scale, at the Swedish pilot plant situated in ornskoldsvik. The host has leading researchers in the fields covered and will provide a well-focused programme of specialist and complementary skills training. The training programme will promote a holistic S and T approach to solving industrial problems.

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Paradisgatan 5C
117 Lund