Quantitative trait loci (QTL) underlying phenotypic variation in bioethanol-related processes in Neurospora crassa.
ABSTRACT: Bioethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass has received increasing attention over the past decade. Many attempts have been made to reduce the cost of bioethanol production by combining the separate steps of the process into a single-step process known as consolidated bioprocessing. This requires identification of organisms that can efficiently decompose lignocellulose to simple sugars and ferment the pentose and hexose sugars liberated to ethanol. There have been many attempts in engineering laboratory strains by adding new genes or modifying genes to expand the capacity of an industrial microorganism. There has been less attention in improving bioethanol-related processes utilizing natural variation existing in the natural ecotypes. In this study, we sought to identify genomic loci contributing to variation in saccharification of cellulose and fermentation of glucose in the fermenting cellulolytic fungus Neurospora crassa through quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis. We identified one major QTL contributing to fermentation of glucose and multiple putative QTL's underlying saccharification. Understanding the natural variation of the major QTL gene would provide new insights in developing industrial microbes for bioethanol production.
Project description:Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the micro-organism of choice for the conversion of monomeric sugars into bioethanol. Industrial bioethanol fermentations are intrinsically stressful environments for yeast and the adaptive protective response varies between strain backgrounds. With the aim of identifying quantitative trait loci (QTL's) that regulate phenotypic variation, linkage analysis on six F1 crosses from four highly divergent clean lineages of S. cerevisiae was performed. Segregants from each cross were assessed for tolerance to a range of stresses encountered during industrial bioethanol fermentations. Tolerance levels within populations of F1 segregants to stress conditions differed and displayed transgressive variation. Linkage analysis resulted in the identification of QTL's for tolerance to weak acid and osmotic stress. We tested candidate genes within loci identified by QTL using reciprocal hemizygosity analysis to ascertain their contribution to the observed phenotypic variation; this approach validated a gene (COX20) for weak acid stress and a gene (RCK2) for osmotic stress. Hemizygous transformants with a sensitive phenotype carried a COX20 allele from a weak acid sensitive parent with an alteration in its protein coding compared with other S. cerevisiae strains. RCK2 alleles reveal peptide differences between parental strains and the importance of these changes is currently being ascertained.
Project description:Consolidated bioprocessing (CBP), which integrates enzyme production, saccharification and fermentation into a one step process, is a promising strategy for the effective ethanol production from cheap lignocellulosic and starchy materials. CBP requires a highly engineered microbial strain able to both hydrolyze biomass with enzymes produced on its own and convert the resulting simple sugars into high-titer ethanol. Recently, heterologous production of cellulose and starch-degrading enzymes has been achieved in yeast hosts, which has realized direct processing of biomass to ethanol. However, essentially all efforts aimed at the efficient heterologous expression of saccharolytic enzymes in yeast have involved laboratory strains and much of this work has to be transferred to industrial yeasts that provide the fermentation capacity and robustness desired for large scale bioethanol production. Specifically, the development of an industrial CBP amylolytic yeast would allow the one-step processing of low-cost starchy substrates into ethanol. This article gives insight in the current knowledge and achievements on bioethanol production from starchy materials with industrial engineered S. cerevisiae strains.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>During industrial fermentation of lignocellulose residues to produce bioethanol, microorganisms are exposed to a number of factors that influence productivity. These include inhibitory compounds produced by the pre-treatment processes required to release constituent carbohydrates from biomass feed-stocks and during fermentation, exposure of the organisms to stressful conditions. In addition, for lignocellulosic bioethanol production, conversion of both pentose and hexose sugars is a pre-requisite for fermentative organisms for efficient and complete conversion. All these factors are important to maximise industrial efficiency, productivity and profit margins in order to make second-generation bioethanol an economically viable alternative to fossil fuels for future transport needs.<h4>Results</h4>The aim of the current study was to assess Saccharomyces yeasts for their capacity to tolerate osmotic, temperature and ethanol stresses and inhibitors that might typically be released during steam explosion of wheat straw. Phenotypic microarray analysis was used to measure tolerance as a function of growth and metabolic activity. Saccharomyces strains analysed in this study displayed natural variation to each stress condition common in bioethanol fermentations. In addition, many strains displayed tolerance to more than one stress, such as inhibitor tolerance combined with fermentation stresses.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our results suggest that this study could identify a potential candidate strain or strains for efficient second generation bioethanol production. Knowledge of the Saccharomyces spp. strains grown in these conditions will aid the development of breeding programmes in order to generate more efficient strains for industrial fermentations.
Project description:The present work is aimed to evaluate the saccharification potential of a thermostable ?-xylosidase cloned from Bacillus licheniformis into Escherichia coli for production of bioethanol from plant biomass. Recombinant ?-xylosidase enzyme possesses the ability of bioconversion of plant biomass like wheat straw, rice straw and sugarcane bagass. By using this approach, plant biomass that mainly constitute cellulose can be converted to reducing sugars that could then be easily converted to bioethanol by simple fermentation process. The production of bioethanol will help to overcome energy requirements due to depleting fossil fuels and will also help to protect environment by reducing greenhouse gas emission. In the end, future directions are briefly mentioned that can be utilized to reduce the cost and increase the yield of biofuels.
Project description:Clostridium thermosuccinogenes is a thermophilic anaerobic bacterium able to convert various carbohydrates to succinate and acetate as main fermentation products. Genomes of the four publicly available strains have been sequenced, and the genome of the type strain has been closed. The annotated genomes were used to reconstruct the central metabolism, and enzyme assays were used to validate annotations and to determine cofactor specificity. The genes were identified for the pathways to all fermentation products, as well as for the Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathway and the pentose phosphate pathway. Notably, a candidate transaldolase was lacking, and transcriptomics during growth on glucose versus that on xylose did not provide any leads to potential transaldolase genes or alternative pathways connecting the C5 with the C3/C6 metabolism. Enzyme assays showed xylulokinase to prefer GTP over ATP, which could be of importance for engineering xylose utilization in related thermophilic species of industrial relevance. Furthermore, the gene responsible for malate dehydrogenase was identified via heterologous expression in Escherichia coli and subsequent assays with the cell extract, which has proven to be a simple and powerful method for the basal characterization of thermophilic enzymes.IMPORTANCE Running industrial fermentation processes at elevated temperatures has several advantages, including reduced cooling requirements, increased reaction rates and solubilities, and a possibility to perform simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of a pretreated biomass. Most studies with thermophiles so far have focused on bioethanol production. Clostridium thermosuccinogenes seems an attractive production organism for organic acids, succinic acid in particular, from lignocellulosic biomass-derived sugars. This study provides valuable insights into its central metabolism and GTP and PPi cofactor utilization.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Our dependence on fossil fuel sources and concern about the environment has generated a worldwide interest in establishing new sources of fuel and energy. Thus, the use of ethanol as a fuel is advantageous because it is an inexhaustible energy source and has minimal environmental impact. Currently, Brazil is the world's second largest producer of ethanol, which is produced from sugarcane juice fermentation. However, several studies suggest that Brazil could double its production per hectare by using sugarcane bagasse and straw, known as second-generation (2G) bioethanol. Nevertheless, the use of this biomass presents a challenge because the plant cell wall structure, which is composed of complex sugars (cellulose and hemicelluloses), must be broken down into fermentable sugar, such as glucose and xylose. To achieve this goal, several types of hydrolytic enzymes are necessary, and these enzymes represent the majority of the cost associated with 2G bioethanol processing. Reducing the cost of the saccharification process can be achieved via a comprehensive understanding of the hydrolytic mechanisms and enzyme secretion of polysaccharide-hydrolyzing microorganisms. In many natural habitats, several microorganisms degrade lignocellulosic biomass through a set of enzymes that act synergistically. In this study, two fungal species, Aspergillus niger and Trichoderma reesei, were grown on sugarcane biomass with two levels of cell wall complexity, culm in natura and pretreated bagasse. The production of enzymes related to biomass degradation was monitored using secretome analyses after 6, 12 and 24 hours. Concurrently, we analyzed the sugars in the supernatant.<h4>Results</h4>Analyzing the concentration of monosaccharides in the supernatant, we observed that both species are able to disassemble the polysaccharides of sugarcane cell walls since 6 hours post-inoculation. The sugars from the polysaccharides such as arabinoxylan and ?-glucan (that compose the most external part of the cell wall in sugarcane) are likely the first to be released and assimilated by both species of fungi. At all time points tested, A. niger produced more enzymes (quantitatively and qualitatively) than T. reesei. However, the most important enzymes related to biomass degradation, including cellobiohydrolases, endoglucanases, ?-glucosidases, ?-xylosidases, endoxylanases, xyloglucanases, and ?-arabinofuranosidases, were identified in both secretomes. We also noticed that the both fungi produce more enzymes when grown in culm as a single carbon source.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our work provides a detailed qualitative and semi-quantitative secretome analysis of A. niger and T. reesei grown on sugarcane biomass. Our data indicate that a combination of enzymes from both fungi is an interesting option to increase saccharification efficiency. In other words, these two fungal species might be combined for their usage in industrial processes.
Project description:Enzymatic hydrolysis of seaweed biomass was studied using xylanase produced from marine bacteria Bacillus sp. strain BT21 through solid-state fermentation of wheat bran. Three types of seaweeds, Ahnfeltia plicata, Padina tetrastromatica and Ulva lactuca, were selected as representatives of red, brown, and green seaweeds, respectively. Seaweed biomass was pretreated with hot water. The efficiency of pretreated biomass to release reducing sugar by the action of xylanase as well as the type of monosaccharide released during enzyme saccharification of seaweed biomass was studied. It was seen that pretreated biomass of seaweed A. plicata, U. lactuca, and P. tetrastroma, at 121 °C for 45 min, followed by incubation with 50 IU xylanase released reducing sugars of 233 ± 5.3, 100 ± 6.1 and 73.3 ± 4.1 µg/mg of seaweed biomass, respectively. Gas chromatography analysis illustrated the release of xylose, glucose, and mannose during the treatment process. Hot water pre-treatment process enhanced enzymatic conversion of biomass into sugars. This study revealed the important role of xylanase in saccharification of seaweed, a promising feedstock for third-generation bioethanol production.
Project description:Sugarcane is the world's most efficient feedstock for commercial production of bioethanol due to its superior biomass production and accumulation of sucrose in stems. Integrating first- and second-generation ethanol conversion processes will enhance the biofuel yield per unit area by utilizing both sucrose and cell wall-bound sugars for fermentation. RNAi suppression of the lignin biosynthetic gene caffeic acid O-methyltransferase (COMT) has been demonstrated to improve bioethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass. Genome editing has been used in a number of crops for creation of loss of function phenotypes but is very challenging in sugarcane due to its highly polyploid genome. In this study, a conserved region of COMT was targeted with a single-transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) pair for multi-allelic mutagenesis to modify lignin biosynthesis in sugarcane. Field-grown TALEN-mediated COMT mutants showed up to 19.7% lignin reduction and significantly decreased syringyl to guaiacyl (S/G) ratio resulting in an up to 43.8% improved saccharification efficiency. Biomass production of COMT mutant lines with superior saccharification efficiency did not differ significantly from the original cultivar under replicated field conditions. Sanger sequencing of cloned COMT amplicons (1351-1657 bp) revealed co-editing of 107 of the 109 unique COMT copies/alleles in vegetative progeny of line CB6 using a single TALEN pair. Line CB6 combined altered cell wall composition and drastically improved saccharification efficiency with good agronomic performance. These findings confirm the feasibility of co-mutagenesis of a very large number of target alleles/copies for improvement in crops with complex genomes.
Project description:Banana is a major fruit crop throughout the world with abundant lignocellulose in the pseudostem and rachis residues for biofuel production. In this study, we collected a total of 11 pseudostems and rachis samples that were originally derived from different genetic types and ecological locations of banana crops and then examined largely varied edible carbohydrates (soluble sugars, starch) and lignocellulose compositions. By performing chemical (H<sub>2</sub>SO<sub>4</sub>, NaOH) and liquid hot water (LHW) pretreatments, we also found a remarkable variation in biomass enzymatic saccharification and bioethanol production among all banana samples examined. Consequently, this study identified a desirable banana (Refen1, subgroup Pisang Awak) crop containing large amounts of edible carbohydrates and completely digestible lignocellulose, which could be combined to achieve the highest bioethanol yields of 31-38% (% dry matter), compared with previously reported ones in other bioenergy crops. Chemical analysis further indicated that the cellulose CrI and lignin G-monomer should be two major recalcitrant factors affecting biomass enzymatic saccharification in banana pseudostems and rachis. Therefore, this study not only examined rich edible carbohydrates for food in the banana pseudostems but also detected digestible lignocellulose for bioethanol production in rachis tissue, providing a strategy applicable for genetic breeding and biomass processing in banana crops.
Project description:The global production of cereal straw as an agricultural by-product presents a significant source of biomass, which could be used as feedstock for the production of second generation biofuels by fermentation. The production of sugars for fermentation is an important measure of straw quality and in its suitability for biofuel production. In this paper, we present a characterization of straw digestibility from a wide range of cereal. Our main objective is to evaluate the variability of fermentable sugars released from different species including wheat (Triticum durum L., Triticum aestivum L.), barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and triticale (X Triticosecale Wittmack). To this end, we adapted a saccharification method (IAS Method) capable of detecting significant differences of released sugars between cultivars and species, while using separately another method that would serve as a control and with which we could contrast our results (CNAP method). ANOVA analyses revealed that barley has a higher saccharification potential than wheat and triticale and shows more variation between genotypes. Thus, populations derived from crosses among them such as Steptoe × Morex and OWB Dominant × OWB Recessive hold potential for the identification of genetic basis for saccharification-related traits. The correlation of glucose released between the two methods was moderate (R2 = 0.57). An evaluation of the inter- and intra- specific correlation between a number of chemical and agronomical parameters and saccharification suggests that the cell wall thickness and lignin content in straw could be used in breeding programs for the improvement of the saccharification potential. Finally, the lack of correlation between grain yield and saccharification suggests that it would be possible to make a selection of genotypes for dual purpose, low recalcitrance and grain yield.