New yeast unlocks ethanol potential in pine trees

November 24, 2011 |

In Georgia, researchers at the University of Georgia have developed a “super strain” of yeast that can efficiently ferment ethanol from pretreated pine-one of the most common species of trees in Georgia and the U.S.

Their research could help biofuels replace gasoline as a transportation fuel. Their research, published online in Biotechnology for Biofuels, shows that the pine fermented with the new yeast can successfully withstand the toxic compounds and produce ethanol from higher concentrations of pretreated pine than previously published.

The end result was a strain of yeast capable of producing ethanol in fermentations of pretreated wood containing as much as 17.5 percent solid biomass. Previously, researchers were only able to produce ethanol in the presence of 5 to 8 percent solids. Studies at 12 percent solids showed a substantial decrease in ethanol production.

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Category: Research

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