Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/30/2012
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: During the fermentation of lignocellulosic hydrolyzates to ethanol by native pentose-fermenting yeasts such as Scheffersomyces (Pichia) stipitis NRRL Y-7124 (CBS 5773) and Pachysolen tannophilus NRRL Y-2460, the switch from glucose to xylose uptake results in a diauxic lag unless process strategies to prevent this are applied. When yeast were grown on glucose and resuspended in mixed sugars, the length of this lag was observed to be a function of the glucose concentration consumed (and consequently, the ethanol concentration accumulated) prior to the switch from glucose to xylose fermentation. At glucose concentrations of 95 g/L, the switch to xylose utilization was severely stalled such that efficient xylose fermentation could not occur. Further investigation focused on the impact of ethanol on cellular xylose transport and the induction and maintenance of xylose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase activities when large cell populations of S. stipitis NRRL Y-7124 were pre-grown on glucose or xylose and then presented mixtures of glucose and xylose for fermentation. Ethanol concentrations around 50 g/L fully repressed enzyme induction although xylose transport into the cells was observed to be occurring. Increasing degrees of repression were documented between 15 and 45 g/L ethanol. Repitched cell populations grown on xylose resulted in faster fermentation rates, particularly on xylose but also on glucose, and eliminated diauxic lag and stalling during mixed sugar conversion by P. tannophilus or S. stipitis, despite ethanol accumulations in the 60 or 70 g/L range, respectively. The process strategy of priming cells on xylose was key to the successful utilization of high mixed sugar concentrations because specific enzymes for xylose utilization could be induced before ethanol concentration accumulated to an inhibitory level.