Organic acids from lignocellulose: Candida lignohabitans as a new microbial cell factory

  • Martina Bellasio
  • Diethard Mattanovich
  • Michael Sauer
  • Hans Marx


Biorefinery applications require microbial cell factories for the conversion of various sugars derived from lignocellulosic material into value-added chemicals. Here, the capabilities of the yeast Candida lignohabitans to utilize a range of such sugars is characterized. Substrates efficiently converted by this yeast include the pentoses xylose and arabinose. Genetic engineering of C. lignohabitans with the isolated endogenous GAP promoter and GAP terminator was successful. GFP expression was used as a proof of functionality for the isolated transcription elements. Expression of lactate dehydrogenase and cis-aconitate decarboxylase resulted in stable and reproducible production of lactic acid and itaconic acid, respectively. The desired organic acids were accumulated converting pure sugars as well as lignocellulosic hydrolysates. C. lignohabitans proved therefore to be a promising reliable microbial host for production of organic acids from lignocellulosic material.


Microbial cell factory Candida lignohabitans Lactic acid production Itaconic acid production Biorefinery 



The authors thank Verena Puxbaum for the help with the fluorescent microscopy pictures, Basso LR et al. for providing plasmids with C. albicans hygromycin B resistance gene, Rupert Koeberl (TDZ Ennstal, Reichraming, Austria) for the supply of pretreated lignocellulosic material and Novozymes (Bagsvaerd, Denmark) for samples of Cellic CTec2®. Finally, we thank the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna—VIBT Imaging Center for access and expertise with the Leica DMI 6000 fluorescence microscope. This project was financed by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), program “Intelligente Produktion” (FFG project n° 834297).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martina Bellasio
    • 1
  • Diethard Mattanovich
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Sauer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hans Marx
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyBOKU—VIBT University of Natural Resources and Life SciencesViennaAustria
  2. 2.Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB GmbH)ViennaAustria

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