Development of an Arabinose-Fermenting Zymomonas mobilis Strain by Metabolic Pathway Engineering

Kristine Deanda, Min Zhang, Christina Eddy, Stephen Picataggio

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194 Scopus Citations


The substrate fermentation range of the ethanologenic bacterium Zymomonas mobilis was expanded to include the pentose sugar, L-arabinose, which is commonly found in agricultural residues and other lignocellulosic biomass. Five genes, encoding L-arabinose isomerase (araA), L-ribulokinase (araB), L-ribulose-5-phosphate-4-epimerase (araD), transaldolase (talB), and transketolase (tktA), were isolated from Escherichia coli and introduced into Z. mobilis under the control of constitutive promoters that permitted their expression even in the presence of glucose. The engineered strain grew on and produced ethanol from L-arabinose as a sole C source at 98% of the maximum theoretical ethanol yield, based on the amount of consumed sugar. This indicates that arabinose was metabolized almost exclusively to ethanol as the sole fermentation product, with little by-product formation. Although no diauxic growth pattern was evident, the microorganism preferentially utilized glucose before arabinose, apparently reflecting the specificity of the indigenous facilitated diffusion transport system. This microorganism may be useful, along with the previously developed xylose-fermenting Z. mobilis (M. Zhang, C. Eddy, K. Deanda, M. Finkelstein, and S. Picataggio, Science 267:240-243, 1995), in a mixed culture for efficient fermentation of the predominant hexose and pentose sugars in agricultural residues and other lignocellulosic feedstocks to ethanol.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4465-4470
Number of pages6
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1996

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-423-21169


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