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Stronger Membranes Help Yeast Tolerate Bioenergy Production Chemicals
Published: March 15, 2020
Posted: October 20, 2020

Incorporating sterols in the outer membrane of Yarrowia lipolytica makes it significantly more tolerant of ionic liquids.

The Science
Creating biofuels and other products from plant material is a complex process. Breaking down plant cells requires chemicals, among other things. Organic solvents like ionic liquids (ILs) represent one example. Scientists also need microbes such as yeast to convert the resulting plant material into biofuels and biochemicals. However, ILs often keep microbes from growing. Now, scientists have learned how one strain of yeast, Yarrowia lipolytica, strengthens its membranes. With stronger membranes, this yeast can better withstand ILs.

The Impact
This study produced the microorganism most tolerant to ILs. “Exceptional solvent tolerance in Yarrowia lipolytica is enhanced by sterols.Metabolic Engineering 54(C), 83–95 (2019). [DOI:10.1016/j.ymben.2019.03.003]

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: Microbes and Communities
  • Research Area: Plant Systems and Feedstocks, Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Research Area: DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI)
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)

Division: SC-33.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER


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