Growth inhibition of S. cerevisiae, B. subtilis, and E. coli by lignocellulosic and fermentation products

Joana P.C. Pereira, Peter J T Verheijen, Adrie J.J. Straathof*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


This paper describes the effect of several inhibiting components on three potential hosts for the bio-based production of methyl propionate, namely, wild-type Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, and evolved Saccharomyces cerevisiae IMS0351. The inhibition by the lignocellulose-derived products 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furaldehyde, vanillin, and syringaldehyde and the fermentation products 2-butanol, 2-butanone, methyl propionate, and ethyl acetate has been assessed for these strains in defined medium. Multiple screenings were performed using small-scale cultures in both shake flasks and microtiter plates. Technical drawbacks revealed the limited applicability of the latter in this study. The microbial growth was characterized by means of a lag-time model, and the inhibitory thresholds were determined using product-inhibition models. The lignocellulose-derived products were found to be highly inhibitory, and none of the strains could grow in the presence of 2.0 g L−1 of product. From the fermentation products tested, methyl propionate had the most severe impact resulting in complete inhibition of all the strains when exposed to concentrations in the range of 12–18 g L−1. In general, S. cerevisiae and B. subtilis were comparatively more tolerant than E. coli to all the fermentation products, despite E. coli’s lower sensitivity towards vanillin. The results suggest that, overall, the strains investigated have good potential to be engineered and further established as hosts for the bio-based production of methyl esters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9069-9080
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Bio-based products
  • Growth inhibition
  • Lag-time model
  • Product-inhibition models


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