, Volume 84-86, Issue 1-9, pp 181-196

Development of new ethanologenic Escherichia coli strains for fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass

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Two new ethanologenic strains (FBR4 and FBR5) of Escherichia coli were constructed and used to ferment corn fiber hydrolysate. The strains carry the plasmid pLO1297, which contains the genes from Zymomonas mobilis necessary for efficiently converting pyruvate into ethanol. Both strains selectively maintained the plasmid when grown anaerobically. Each culture was serially transferred 10 times in anaerobic culture with sugar-limited medium containing xylose, but noselective antibiotic. An average of 93 and 95% of the FBR4 and FBR5 cells, respectively, maintained pLO1297 in anaerobic culture. The fermentation performances of the repeatedly transferred cultures were compared with those of cultures freshly revived from stock in pH-controlled batch fermentations with 10% (w/v) xylose. Fermentation results were similar for all the cultures. Fermentations were completed within 60 h and ethanol yields were 86–92% of theoretical. Maximal ethanol concentrations were 3.9–4.2% (w/v). The strains were also tested for their ability to ferment corn fiber hydrolysate, which contained 8.5% (w/v) total sugars (2.0% arabinose, 2.8% glucose, and 3.7% xylose). E. coli FBR5 produced more ethanol than FBR4 from the corn fiber hydrolysate. E. coli FBR5 fermented all but 0.4% (w/v) of the available sugar, whereas strain FBR4 left 1.6% unconsumed. The fermentation with FBR5 was completed within 55 h and yielded 0.46 g of ethanol/g of available sugar, 90% of the maximum obtainable.

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