Minimization of glycerol synthesis in industrial ethanol yeast without influencing its fermentation performance.Metab Eng. 2011 Jan; 13(1):49-59.ME
To synthesize glycerol, a major by-product during anaerobic production of ethanol, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae would consume up to 4% of the sugar feedstock in typical industrial ethanol processes. The present study was dedicated to decreasing the glycerol production mostly in industrial ethanol producing yeast without affecting its desirable fermentation properties including high osmotic and ethanol tolerance, natural robustness in industrial processes. In the present study, the GPD1 gene, encoding NAD+-dependent glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase in an industrial ethanol producing strain of S. cerevisiae, was deleted. Simultaneously, a non-phosphorylating NADP+-dependent glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPN) from Bacillus cereus was expressed in the mutant deletion of GPD1. Although the resultant strain AG1A (gpd1△ P(PGK)-gapN) exhibited a 48.7±0.3% (relative to the amount of substrate consumed) lower glycerol yield and a 7.6±0.1% (relative to the amount of substrate consumed) higher ethanol yield compared to the wild-type strain, it was sensitive to osmotic stress and failed to ferment on 25% glucose. However, when trehalose synthesis genes TPS1 and TPS2 were over-expressed in the above recombinant strain AG1A, its high osmotic stress tolerance was not only restored but also improved. In addition, this new recombinant yeast strain displayed further reduced glycerol yield, indistinguishable maximum specific growth rate (μ(max)) and fermentation ability compared to the wild type in anaerobic batch fermentations. This study provides a promising strategy to improve ethanol yields by minimization of glycerol production.