So, we’ve read about the role of yeasts in producing cellulosic ethanol. A new study has brought into the spotlight, a new strain of yeast. So what’s special about this strain?
Dilute acid pre-treatment of biomass can result in the formation of Furfural and HMF (5-hydroxymethyl-2-furaldehyde). These compounds disrupt the yeast genetic material by degrading the yeast cell walls, thereby inhibiting the growth of yeast and lower ethanol yields.
Well, scientists at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service have discovered a new biorefinery tsrain of the common baker’s yeast, called NRRL Y-50049. They say that this strain is capable of neglecting the effects of furfural and HMF.
Scientists used a unique approached called “evolutionary engineering”, speeding up the microbe’s natural adaptation to the hostile environment created by the inhibitors. As of now, this has been tested in a small-scale fermenter. The scientists aim to carry out a trial run in a much larger fermenter and also have plans of studying various genes responsible for this behavior.
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