Yeast’s sweet tooth key to biofuel efficiency

Scientists have identified several new genes that improve yeast’s ability to use xylose, a five-carbon sugar that can make up nearly half of available plant sugars.

If the yeast can be made to use most of these sugars it should improve the efficiency of producing renewable fuels from crops like corn stover or switchgrass.

“Strains of yeast that are currently used for biofuel production convert xylose to ethanol slowly and inefficiently…For industrial purposes, the faster a yeast can consume the sugars, the better, since more sugar consumption means more ethanol,” the study’s lead author Dana Wohlbach said.

Read more at University of Wisconsin-Madison