In a second study published in Genome Research, researchers from Stanford University and Brazil led by Boris Stambuk and Gavin Sherlock have also analyzed the genome structure of industrial bioethanol yeasts, searching for variations in the number of gene copies in five strains employed in Brazil, including PE-2. Stambuk and colleagues found that all five industrial strains studied harbor amplifications of genes involved in the synthesis of vitamins B6 and B1 compounds critical for efficient growth and utilization of sugar.
The group experimentally demonstrated that the gene amplifications confer robust growth in industrial conditions, indicating that these yeasts likely adapted to limited availability of vitamins in the industrial process to gain a competitive advantage. Furthermore, the authors suggest that this knowledge can be utilized to engineer new strains of yeast capable of even more efficient bioethanol production, from a wider range of agricultural stocks.
It is evident that an expanding human population will require more energy that exerts less impact on the environment, and the information gained from these genomic studies of industrial bioethanol yeasts will be invaluable as biofuel researchers optimize production and implement the technology worldwide.
|Contact: Peggy Calicchia|
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory