iDiverse discovers yeast gene that increases fuel ethanol product

By iDiverse | July 23, 2012

iDiverse announced that it has discovered a yeast gene that when inserted into yeast and properly modulated can increase ethanol production yield by up to 34 percent.

“The gene functions by protecting the yeast against some of the lethal stresses encountered in the bioproduction process,” said John Serbin, chief business officer at iDiverse. “In its current embodiment, it allows yeast to produce significantly more ethanol under the severe conditions of high concentrations of acetic acid and low pH. These critical conditions occur when fuel ethanol is produced from corn or sugarcane and are yet more severe in the newest generation of fermentation processes using lignocellulosic biomass as feedstock. Our constructs have been tested in several commercial yeasts. We believe that they can improve the performance of any yeast facing lethal bioproduction environments.”

“The economic impact of this can be huge,” said John Burr, president and CEO of iDiverse. “If our technology is effective at large-scale, it could increase the efficiency of installed fuel ethanol plants, enhance yields from corn and sugarcane feed stocks, and help manufacturers bridge the fuel ethanol production gap until the next generation biomass plants come on-line. In addition, we think we can help increase the manufacturing output of cellulosic biomass technologies under development.”

"Also, our technology is ready to be used in applications beyond fuel ethanol,” Burr added. “Those include the bioproduction of industrial enzymes, research reagents, and pharmaceuticals. Our technology will provide benefits to biomanufacturing cell types beyond yeast, such as CHO, insect, fungal, and algal cells."