Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Innovative New Yeasts Could Help Cellulosic Ethanol Production

ARS researchers have been thinking outside the box. Rather than focusing only on the difficult task of converting xylose into ethanol, they developed yeasts that can use xylose for energy and thereby convert more of the glucose in the feedstock into ethanol. Xylose is a type of sugar that is found in cellulosic biomass. But many cellulosic type materials also contain glucose. Jerusalem artichoke stems and sweet sorghum stems might be good candidates.

New Yeasts Could Help Fast-Track Biofuel Production / July 28, 2009 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service: "The new yeast doesn’t directly convert large quantities of xylose into ethanol. Instead, xylose provides energy the yeast needs to grow and reproduce without oxygen. This means that the glucose that might have been used by the yeast to grow and reproduce is now available for fermentation, and the rate of ethanol conversion increases."

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