Sunday, April 29, 2007

Improved ethanologenic Corynebacterium glutamicum strains for fuel ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass

Haruhiko Teramoto1, Hideo Kawaguchi2, Shohei Okino2, Masayuki Inui2, and Hideaki Yukawa2. (1) Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology Group, Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, 9-2, Kizugawadai, Kizugawa, Kyoto, Japan, (2) Microbiology Research Group, Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, 9-2 Kizugawadai, Kizu-cho, Soraku-gun, Kyoto, Japan

The current spotlight on global warming and energy security has helped focus worldwide attention on fuel ethanol production. The fact that feedstocks of current ethanol production processes include food crops implies that the strain on food supplies is bound to intensify with increasing fuel ethanol demand. There is a pressing need, therefore, to utilize the abundant lignocellulosic biomass, some obtained from inedible parts of food crops, as demand for bioethanol increases.
We are involved in the development of a process for ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass using ethanologenic Corynebacterium glutamicum strains. We have developed a metabolically engineered C. glutamicum strain which enables the utilization of xylose and cellobiose as substrates for ethanol production. Here, arabinose-metabolizing genes derived from Escherichia coli were introduced and expressed into C. glutamicum cells for utilization of arabinose, which is contained in hemicellulose derived from lignocellulosic biomass.