Comparison of xylose fermentation by two high-performance engineered strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Xin Li, Annsea Park, Raissa Estrela, Soo Rin Kim, Yong Su Jin, Jamie H.D. Cate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Economical biofuel production from plant biomass requires the conversion of both cellulose and hemicellulose in the plant cell wall. The best industrial fermentation organism, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been developed to utilize xylose by heterologously expressing either a xylose reductase/xylitol dehydrogenase (XR/XDH) pathway or a xylose isomerase (XI) pathway. Although it has been proposed that the optimal means for fermenting xylose into biofuels would use XI instead of the XR/XDH pathway, no clear comparison of the best publicly-available yeast strains engineered to use XR/XDH or XI has been published. We therefore compared two of the best-performing engineered yeast strains in the public domain - one using the XR/XDH pathway and another using XI - in anaerobic xylose fermentations. We find that, regardless of conditions, the strain using XR/XDH has substantially higher productivity compared to the XI strain. By contrast, the XI strain has better yields in nearly all conditions tested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-56
Number of pages4
JournalBiotechnology Reports
StatePublished - Mar 2016


  • Biofuels
  • Fermentation
  • Xylitol dehydrogenase
  • Xylose
  • Xylose isomerase
  • Xylose reductase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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