Sunday, April 29, 2007

Screening of cellulase- and hemicellulase- producing fungi for ethanol production from woody biomass

Shinichi Yano, Chiaki Kitao, Xu Fang, Hiroyuki Inoue, and Shigeki Sawayama. Biomass Technology Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, 2-2-2 Hiro-suehiro, Kure, Japan

We are developing an ethanol production system from woody biomass with non-acid pretreatment such as ball milling. Acremonium cellulase is an enzyme developed in Japan and commercially available from Meiji Seika Co. Ltd. It is suitable for ethanol production since its beta-glucosidase activity is higher than that of conventional cellulase from Trichoderma species and advantageous to obtain glucose from cellulose efficiently. However, its hemicellulase activity is not sufficient for efficient hemicellulose saccharification of ball-milled woody biomass.

  Screening of cellulase- and hemicellulose- producing fungi was carried out from soil in Japan. We have isolated a promising fungal strain from soil in Okutama, Tokyo, which is especially excellent for xylan degradation. This strain (KIF78) was identified as an Aspergillus species according to the DNA sequencing of its ITS1 region. When culture broth of this fungus was used with Acremonium cellulase for the saccharification of ball-milled eucalyptus, higher xylose recovery was obtained than the digestion with Acremonium cellulase alone. Similar results were obtained for mannose recovery when pretreated Douglas fir was used as the substrate. These results show the efficacy of strain KIF78 for efficient saccharification of hemicellulose.

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