Monday, January 3, 2011

BP Brews Up an Ethanol Breakthrough with Engineered Yeast

The researchers, supported by the BP-funded Energy Biosciences Institute, claim the yeast can process glucose, a common type of sugar, along with xylose, which is a wood sugar that yeasts typically process far more slowly, if at all. Researchers at the University of Illinois, in conjunction with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Seoul National University, and the University of California, have engineered a yeast strain that can process two types of sugar at once. The few yeasts that can process xylose do so only after processing the glucose found in a material. This serial processing of sugars is one of the factors leading to the relatively slow processing of cellulosic materials such as woody biomass and other organic waste materials. More>