Background: The most advanced strains of xylose-fermenting Saccharomyces cerevisiae still utilize xylose far less efficiently than glucose, despite the extensive metabolic and evolutionary engineering applied in their development. Systematic comparison of strains across literature is difficult due to widely varying conditions used for determining key physiological parameters. Here, we evaluate an industrial and a laboratory S. cerevisiae strain, which has the assimilation of xylose via xylitol in common, but differ fundamentally in the history of their adaptive laboratory evolution development, and in the cofactor specificity of the xylose reductase (XR) and xylitol dehydrogenase (XDH). Results: In xylose and mixed glucose-xylose shaken bottle fermentations, with and without addition of inhibitor-rich wheat straw hydrolyzate, the specific xylose uptake rate of KE6-12.A (0.27-1.08 g g CDW -1 h-1) was 1.1 to twofold higher than that of IBB10B05 (0.10-0.82 g g CDW -1 h-1). KE6-12.A further showed a 1.1 to ninefold higher glycerol yield (0.08-0.15 g g-1) than IBB10B05 (0.01-0.09 g g-1). However, the ethanol yield (0.30-0.40 g g-1), xylitol yield (0.08-0.26 g g-1), and maximum specific growth rate (0.04-0.27 h-1) were in close range for both strains. The robustness of flocculating variants of KE6-12.A (KE-Flow) and IBB10B05 (B-Flow) was analyzed in high-gravity simultaneous saccharification and co-fermentation. As in shaken bottles, KE-Flow showed faster xylose conversion and higher glycerol formation than B-Flow, but final ethanol titres (61 g L-1) and cell viability were again comparable for both strains. Conclusions: Individual specific traits, elicited by the engineering strategy, can affect global physiological parameters of S. cerevisiae in different and, sometimes, unpredictable ways. The industrial strain background and prolonged evolution history in KE6-12.A improved the specific xylose uptake rate more substantially than the superior XR, XDH, and xylulokinase activities were able to elicit in IBB10B05. Use of an engineered XR/XDH pathway in IBB10B05 resulted in a lower glycerol rather than a lower xylitol yield. However, the strain development programs were remarkably convergent in terms of the achieved overall strain performance. This highlights the importance of comparative strain evaluation to advance the engineering strategies for next-generation S. cerevisiae strain development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law