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Metabolic Engineering
Vol. 32, 2015, Pages: 39–48

Metabolic and process engineering of Clostridium cellulovorans for biofuel production from cellulose

Xiaorui Yang, Mengmeng Xu, Shang-Tian Yang

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Department of Molecular Genetics, The Ohio State University, 151 West Woodruff Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Production of cellulosic biofuels has drawn increasing attention. However, currently no microorganism can produce biofuels, particularly butanol, directly from cellulosic biomass efficiently. Here we engineered a cellulolytic bacterium, Clostridium cellulovorans, for n-butanol and ethanol production directly from cellulose by introducing an aldehyde/alcohol dehydrogenase (adhE2), which converts butyryl-CoA to n-butanol and acetyl-CoA to ethanol. The engineered strain was able to produce 1.42 g/L n-butanol and 1.60 g/L ethanol directly from cellulose. Moreover, the addition of methyl viologen as an artificial electron carrier shifted the metabolic flux from acid production to alcohol production, resulting in a high biofuel yield of 0.39 g/g from cellulose, comparable to ethanol yield from corn dextrose by yeast fermentation. This study is the first metabolic engineering of C. cellulovorans for n-butanol and ethanol production directly from cellulose with significant titers and yields, providing a promising consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) platform for biofuel production from cellulosic biomass.

Keywords: Biofuel; Butanol; Ethanol; Cellulose; Clostridium cellulovorans; Metabolic engineering.

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