Screening and Growth Characterization of Non-conventional Yeasts in a Hemicellulosic Hydrolysate.Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2021; 9:659472.FB
Lignocellulosic biomass is an attractive raw material for the sustainable production of chemicals and materials using microbial cell factories. Most of the existing bioprocesses focus on second-generation ethanol production using genetically modified Saccharomyces cerevisiae, however, this microorganism is naturally unable to consume xylose. Moreover, extensive metabolic engineering has to be carried out to achieve high production levels of industrially relevant building blocks. Hence, the use of non-Saccharomyces species, or non-conventional yeasts, bearing native metabolic routes, allows conversion of a wide range of substrates into different products, and higher tolerance to inhibitors improves the efficiency of biorefineries. In this study, nine non-conventional yeast strains were selected and screened on a diluted hemicellulosic hydrolysate from Birch. Kluyveromyces marxianus CBS 6556, Scheffersomyces stipitis CBS 5773, Lipomyces starkeyi DSM 70295, and Rhodotorula toruloides CCT 7815 were selected for further characterization, where their growth and substrate consumption patterns were analyzed under industrially relevant substrate concentrations and controlled environmental conditions in bioreactors. K. marxianus CBS 6556 performed poorly under higher hydrolysate concentrations, although this yeast was determined among the fastest-growing yeasts on diluted hydrolysate. S. stipitis CBS 5773 demonstrated a low growth and biomass production while consuming glucose, while during the xylose-phase, the specific growth and sugar co-consumption rates were among the highest of this study (0.17 h-1 and 0.37 g/gdw*h, respectively). L. starkeyi DSM 70295 and R. toruloides CCT 7815 were the fastest to consume the provided sugars at high hydrolysate conditions, finishing them within 54 and 30 h, respectively. R. toruloides CCT 7815 performed the best of all four studied strains and tested conditions, showing the highest specific growth (0.23 h-1), substrate co-consumption (0.73 ± 0.02 g/gdw*h), and xylose consumption (0.22 g/gdw*h) rates. Furthermore, R. toruloides CCT 7815 was able to produce 10.95 ± 1.37 gL-1 and 1.72 ± 0.04 mgL-1 of lipids and carotenoids, respectively, under non-optimized cultivation conditions. The study provides novel information on selecting suitable host strains for biorefinery processes, provides detailed information on substrate consumption patterns, and pinpoints to bottlenecks possible to address using metabolic engineering or adaptive evolution experiments.