First synthetic cellulosome in yeast may improve production of renewable fuel

November 2nd, 2009 - 5:16 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, November 2 (ANI): Scientists have constructed for the first time a synthetic cellulosome in yeast, which has the potential to improve the production of renewable fuel.

The scientists were led by Wilfred Chen, UC (University of California) Riverside Professor of Chemical Engineering.

Currently, the most common method of producing bioethanol uses sugar cane and corn starch.

Efficient, cost-effective methods of using non-food related materials like cellulosic biomass found in agricultural and wood-pulping wastes is the focus of new research by Chen’s team, among others.

The use of multiple enzymes in the cellulosome greatly increases the efficiency of hydrolysis because heterogeneous forms of cellulose can be digested.

The artificial cellulosome developed at UCR is highly modular and can be engineered to display ten or more different cellulases, the composition of which can be tuned to optimized hydrolysis of any feedstock.

Cellulosomes are self-assembled structures found on the exterior of certain bacteria that allow the organisms to efficiently break down cellulose.

The cellulosome contains multiple types of cellulases (enzymes that break down cellulose), optimally spaced for maximum activity.

The experimental cellulosome contains three different cellulases.

Yeast engineered with this triple cellulase cellulosome was able to multiply to high levels with cellulose as the only carbon source.

Compared to controls engineered with one or two cellulases, the triple cellulase displaying yeast had higher rates of hydrolysis, demonstrating the benefit of using diverse cellulytic enzymes in a single organism.

The yeast cellulosome could enable efficient one-step “consolidated bioprocessing” by maximizing the catalytic efficiency of cellulosic hydrolysis with simultaneous fermentation.

The process of using these engineered yeasts can potentially make the production of bioethanol from biomass more efficient and economical. (ANI)

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