- BIRD Engineering has conducted numerous projects in the
- field of Industrial Microbiology since 1989, ranging from
- bioremediation, production of bio-based chemicals,
- bio-fuels, food and pharmaceutical products. BIRD
- supported its customers with extensive knowledge in
- process (fermentation) and strain development.
- For confidentiality reasons, most projects are
not mentioned here
Development of yeast for second generation bioethanol
BIRD Engineering and Delft University of Technology have jointly developed an efficient yeast for the production of biofuels from plant material such as stems and leaves that are unfit for human consumption. Plant waste is rich in xylose, a pentose sugar (i.e., having 5 carbon atoms) that cannot be metabolized by wild-type yeast. This makes the production of biofuels like bioethanol from plant waste (“2nd generation” biofuel) inefficient, since a large proportion of the plant material cannot be converted into useful products.
In collaboration with researchers at the Radboud University (Nijmegen, NL) and at the Delft University of Technology, BIRD Engineering has constructed a yeast that harbours a xylose isomerase, a key enzyme for xylose utilization, from the anaerobic fungus Piromyces sp. E2 that was isolated at Radboud University (Nijmegen, NL). In collaboration with Delft University of Technology, the resulting xylose utilizing yeast was further improved by a combination of molecular engineering and fermentation techniques (e.g., evolutionary engineering). This development, that was started in the early 2000s, has matured into an efficient technology for 2nd generation bioethanol production that is being evaluated in pilot plants worldwide. From 2014 onwards, implementation in full-scale bioethanol plants in the US is foreseen.
- Kuyper M, Winkler AA, van Dijken JP, Pronk JT. Minimal metabolic engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for efficient anaerobic xylose fermentation: a proof of principle. FEMS Yeast Res. 2004 Mar;4(6):655-64.
- Kuyper M, Hartog MM, Toirkens MJ, Almering MJ, Winkler AA, van Dijken JP, Pronk JT. Metabolic engineering of a xylose-isomerase-expressing Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain for rapid anaerobic xylose fermentation. FEMS Yeast Res. 2005 Feb;5(4-5):399-409.
- Kuyper M, Toirkens MJ, Diderich JA, Winkler AA, van Dijken JP, Pronk JT. Evolutionary engineering of mixed-sugar utilization by a xylose-fermenting Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain. FEMS Yeast Res. 2005 Jul;5(10):925-34.
- Van Maris AJ, Abbott DA, Bellissimi E, van den Brink J, Kuyper M, Luttik MA, Wisselink HW, Scheffers WA, van Dijken JP, Pronk JT. Alcoholic fermentation of carbon sources in biomass hydrolysates by Saccharomyces cerevisiae: current status. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2006 Nov;90(4):391-418.
- Van Maris AJ, Winkler AA, Kuyper M, de Laat WT, van Dijken JP, Pronk JT. Development of efficient xylose fermentation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: xylose isomerase as a key component. Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol. 2007;108:179-204.
- Kuyper M, Harhangi HR, Stave AK, Winkler AA, Jetten MS, de Laat WT, den Ridder JJ, Op den Camp HJ, van Dijken JP, Pronk JT. High-level functional expression of a fungal xylose isomerase: the key to efficient ethanolic fermentation of xylose by Saccharomyces cerevisiae? FEMS Yeast Res. 2003 Oct;4(1):69-78.
- Winkler AA, Kuyper M, de Laat WT, van Dijken JP, Pronk JT. Metabolic engineering of xylose fermentation. US patent application 2008261287.