BioTork Develops Xylose-Fermenting Yeast for Ethanol Facilities
by Kris Bevill (Ethanol Producer Magazine) After nearly two years of collaborative research, biotechnology company BioTork LLC and the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center have developed a yeast strain capable of fermenting the xylose found in ligno-cellulosic biomass in a commercial-scale environment.
Xylose is the second most abundant sugar in ligno-cellulosic biomass but cannot be fermented by Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the predominant yeast used in ethanol production.
…Because D-xylose comprises up to 30 percent of cellulosic biomass, BioTork’s yeast strain could be applied to various types of biomass for cellulosic ethanol production but one of the first applications envisioned for the yeast strain, currently known only as SC48-EVG51, is to produce ethanol from distillers dried grains (DDGs) at existing corn ethanol facilities. According to BioTork, if the glucose and xylose in distillers grains were converted to ethanol, producers could increase their ethanol output by 10 percent without increasing their capital expenditures.
…BioTork does not plan to make the newly developed yeast commercially available in one standard strain for distillers grains-to-ethanol production, simply because the chemical composition of distillers grains varies from plant to plant, Ghanimi said. Instead, the company will optimize the strain for use with each specific product. Licensing fees will likewise vary, he said. READ MORE