Biotechnology letters. 2010-01-01; 32.1: 87-96.

Metabolic evolution of non-transgenic Escherichia coli SZ420 for enhanced homoethanol fermentation from xylose

Chen K, Iverson AG, Garza EA, Grayburn WS, Zhou S

PMID: 19728107


Efficient utilization of pentose sugars (xylose and arabinose) is an essential requirement for economically viable ethanol production from cellulosic biomass. The desirable pentose-fermenting ethanologenic biocatalysts are the native microorganisms or the engineered derivatives without recruited exogenous gene(s). We have used a metabolic evolution (adaptive selection) approach to improve a non-transgenic homoethanol Escherichia coli SZ420 (ldhA pflB ackA frdBC pdhR::pflBp6-aceEF-lpd) for xylose fermentation. An improved mutant, E. coli KC01, was evolved through a 3 month metabolic evolution process. This evolved mutant increased pyruvate dehydrogenase activity by 100%, cell growth rate (h(-1)) by 23%, volumetric ethanol productivity by 65% and ethanol tolerance by 200%. These improvements enabled KC01 to complete 50 g xylose l(-1) fermentations with an ethanol titer of 23 g l(-1) and a yield of 90%. The improved cell growth and ethanol production of KC01 are likely attributed to its three fold increased ethanol tolerance.

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