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Towards valorization of pectin-rich agro-industrial residues: Engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for co-fermentation of D-galacturonic acid and glycerol

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Pectin-rich plant biomass residues represent underutilized feedstocks for industrial biotechnology. The conversion of the oxidized monomer d-galacturonic acid (d-GalUA) to highly reduced fermentation products such as alcohols is impossible due to the lack of electrons. The reduced compound glycerol has therefore been considered an optimal co-substrate, and a cell factory able to efficiently co-ferment these two carbon sources is in demand. Here, we inserted the fungal d-GalUA pathway in a strain of the yeast S. cerevisiae previously equipped with an NAD-dependent glycerol catabolic pathway. The constructed strain was able to consume d-GalUA with the highest reported maximum specific rate of 0.23 g gCDW-1 h-1 in synthetic minimal medium when glycerol was added. By means of a 13C isotope-labelling analysis, carbon from both substrates was shown to end up in pyruvate. The study delivers the proof of concept for a co-fermentation of the two 'respiratory' carbon sources to ethanol and demonstrates a fast and complete consumption of d-GalUA in crude sugar beet pulp hydrolysate under aerobic conditions. The future challenge will be to achieve co-fermentation under industrial, quasi-anaerobic conditions.
Journal: Metabolic Engineering
ISSN: 1096-7176
Volume: 69
Pages: 1 - 14