Identification of inhibitory components toxic toward zymomonas mobilis CP4(pZB5) xylose fermentation

  • Thilini D. Ranatunga
  • Judith Jervis
  • Richard F. Helm
  • James D. McMillan
  • Christos Hatzis
Original Articles


Zymomonas mobilis CP4(pZB5) is a recombinant bacterium that can produce ethanol from both xylose and glucose. The ethanol-producing efficiency of this organism is substantially impeded by toxic substances present in pretreated hydrolyzates or solid biomass substrates. Acetic acid and furfural (a pentose degradation product) are highly toxic to this organism at levels envisioned for a pretreated-hardwood liquid hydrolyzate. In addition, lignin degradation products and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (a hexose degradation product) have a moderately toxic effect on the organism. Of the compounds studied, organic acids and aldehydes were found to be more inhibitory than lignin acids or the one alkaloid studied. Acetone:water and methanol extracts of solid biomass samples from red oak, white oak, and yellow poplar are toxic toZymomonas cell growth and ethanol production, with the extracts from white oak being the most toxic.

Index Entries

Zymomonas recombinant ethanol oak toxicity yellow-poplar xylose 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thilini D. Ranatunga
    • 1
  • Judith Jervis
    • 1
  • Richard F. Helm
    • 1
  • James D. McMillan
    • 2
  • Christos Hatzis
    • 2
  1. 1.Fralin Biotechnology Center, Department of Wood Science and Forest ProductsVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburg
  2. 2.Biotechnology Center for Fuels and ChemicalsNational Renewable Energy LaboratoryGolden

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