Engineering furfural tolerance in Escherichia coli improves the fermentation of lignocellulosic sugars into renewable chemicals

Xuan Wang, Lorraine P. Yomano, James Y. Lee, Sean W. York, Huabao Zheng, Michael T. Mullinnix, K. T. Shanmugam, Lonnie O. Ingram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

111 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pretreatments such as dilute acid at elevated temperature are effective for the hydrolysis of pentose polymers in hemicellulose and also increase the access of enzymes to cellulose fibers. However, the fermentation of resulting syrups is hindered by minor reaction products such as furfural from pentose dehydration. To mitigate this problem, four genetic traits have been identified that increase furfural tolerance in ethanol-producing Escherichia coli LY180 (strain W derivative): increased expression of fucO, ucpA, or pntAB and deletion of yqhD. Plasmids and integrated strains were used to characterize epistatic interactions among traits and to identify the most effective combinations. Furfural resistance traits were subsequently integrated into the chromosome of LY180 to construct strain XW129 (LY180 ΔyqhD ackA::PyadC′ fucO-ucpA) for ethanol. This same combination of traits was also constructed in succinate biocatalysts (Escherichia coli strain C derivatives) and found to increase furfural tolerance. Strains engineered for resistance to furfural were also more resistant to the mixture of inhibitors in hemicellulose hydrolysates, confirming the importance of furfural as an inhibitory component. With resistant biocatalysts, product yields (ethanol and succinate) from hemicellulose syrups were equal to control fermentations in laboratory media without inhibitors. The combination of genetic traits identified for the production of ethanol (strain W derivative) and succinate (strain C derivative) may prove useful for other renewable chemicals from lignocellulosic sugars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4021-4026
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume110
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 5 2013
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Lignocellulose
  • Metabolic engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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