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Fermentation of high concentrations of lactose to ethanol by engineered flocculent Saccharomyces cerevisiae

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The development of microorganims that efficiently ferment lactose has a high biotechnological interest, particularly for cheese whey bioremediation processes with simultaneous bio-ethanol production. The lactose fermentation performance of a recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae flocculent strain was evaluated. The yeast consumed rapidly and completely lactose concentrations up to 150 g l−1 in either well- or micro-aerated batch fermentations. The maximum ethanol titre was 8% (v/v) and the highest ethanol productivity was 1.5–2 g l−1 h−1, in micro-aerated fermentations. The results presented here emphasise that this strain is an interesting alternative for the production of ethanol from lactose-based feedstocks.

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We thank Jaroslav Klein for assistance in the bioreactor fermentations and Marisa Cunha for doing the HPLC analyses of some of the experiments. The financial support of Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), Portugal (project ProBioethanol PTDC/BIO/66151/2006) is acknowledged. P. M. R. Guimarães acknowledges support from FCT, Portugal (grant SFRH/BD/13463/2003).

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Correspondence to Lucília Domingues.

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Guimarães, P.M.R., Teixeira, J.A. & Domingues, L. Fermentation of high concentrations of lactose to ethanol by engineered flocculent Saccharomyces cerevisiae . Biotechnol Lett 30, 1953–1958 (2008).

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