Biotechnology Letters

, 33:2127 | Cite as

Discovery and characterization of a xylose reductase from Zymomonas mobilis ZM4

  • Manoj Agrawal
  • Rachel Ruizhen Chen
Original Research Paper


Formation of xylitol, a byproduct from xylose fermentation, is a major limiting factor in ethanol production from xylose in engineered Zymomonas strains, yet the postulated xylose reductase remains elusive. We report here the discovery of xylose reductase in Zymomonas mobilis and, for the first time, to associate the enzyme function with its gene. Besides xylose and xylulose, the enzyme was active towards benzaldehyde, furfural, 5-hydroxymethyl furfural, and acetaldehyde, exhibiting nearly 150-times higher affinity with benzaldehyde than xylose. The discovery of xylose reductase paves the way for further improvement of xylose fermentation in Z. mobilis. The enzyme may also be used to mitigate toxicity of furfural and other inhibitors from plant biomass.


Cellulosic ethanol Xylitol Xylose fermentation Xylose reductase Zymomonas mobilis 



We thank Chevron for funding of this work.

Supplementary material

10529_2011_677_MOESM1_ESM.docx (70 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 70 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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