Furfural, 5-hydroxymethyl furfural, and acetoin act as external electron acceptors during anaerobic fermentation of xylose in recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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The electron acceptors acetoin, acetaldehyde, furfural, and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) were added to anaerobic batch fermentation of xylose by recombinant, xylose utilising Saccharomyces cerevisiae TMB 3001. The intracellular fluxes during xylose fermentation before and after acetoin addition were calculated with metabolic flux analysis. Acetoin halted xylitol excretion and decreased the flux through the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway. The yield of ethanol increased from 0.62 mol ethanol/mol xylose to 1.35 mol ethanol/mol xylose, and the cell more than doubled its specific ATP production after acetoin addition compared to fermentation of xylose only. This did, however, not result in biomass growth. The xylitol excretion was also decreased by furfural and acetaldehyde but was unchanged by HMF. Thus, furfural present in lignocellulosic hydrolysate can be beneficial for ethanolic fermentation of xylose. Enzymatic analyses showed that the reduction of acetoin and furfural required NADH, whereas the reduction of HMF required NADPH. The enzymatic activity responsible for furfural reduction was considerably higher than for HMF reduction and also in situ furfural conversion was higher than HMF conversion.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Industrial Biotechnology


  • Comparative Study, Chromatography Liquid, Bioreactors, Biomass, Anaerobiosis : physiology, Acetoin : pharmacology, Models Chemical, NAD : metabolism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae : drug effects : genetics : metabolism, Sensitivity and Specificity, Support Non-U.S. Gov't, Xylose : metabolism, Xylitol : metabolism, Ethanol : analysis : metabolism, Fermentation : physiology, Furaldehyde : analogs & derivatives : pharmacology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-178
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch