Simultaneous fermentation of glucose and xylose can contribute to improved productivity and robustness of yeast-based processes for bioethanol production from lignocellulosic hydrolysates. This study explores a novel laboratory evolution strategy for identifying mutations that contribute to simultaneous utilisation of these sugars in batch cultures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To force simultaneous utilisation of xylose and glucose, the genes encoding glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (PGI1) and ribulose-5-phosphate epimerase (RPE1) were deleted in a xylose-isomerase-based xylose-fermenting strain with a modified oxidative pentose-phosphate pathway. Laboratory evolution of this strain in serial batch cultures on glucose–xylose mixtures yielded mutants that rapidly co-consumed the two sugars. Whole-genome sequencing of evolved strains identified mutations in HXK2, RSP5 and GAL83, whose introduction into a non-evolved xylose-fermenting S. cerevisiae strain improved co-consumption of xylose and glucose under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Combined deletion of HXK2 and introduction of a GAL83G673T allele yielded a strain with a 2.5-fold higher xylose and glucose co-consumption ratio than its xylose-fermenting parental strain. These two modifications decreased the time required for full sugar conversion in anaerobic bioreactor batch cultures, grown on 20 g L−1 glucose and 10 g L−1 xylose, by over 24 h. This study demonstrates that laboratory evolution and genome resequencing of microbial strains engineered for forced co-consumption is a powerful approach for studying and improving simultaneous conversion of mixed substrates.
- industrial biotechnology
- Redox engineering