Identification of Inhibitory Components Toxic Toward Zymomomonas mobilis CP4(pZB5) Xylose Fermentation

Thilini D. Ranatunga, Judith Jervis, Richard F. Helm, James D. Mcmillan, Christos Hatzis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus Citations


Zymomonas mobilis CP4(pZB5) is a recombinant bacterium that can produce ethanol from both xylose and glucose. The ethanol-producing efficiency of this organism is substantially impeded by toxic substances present in pretreated hydrolyzates or solid biomass substrates. Acetic acid and furfural (a pentose degradation product) are highly toxic to this organism at levels envisioned for a pretreated-hardwood liquid hydrolyzate. In addition, lignin degradation products and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (a hexose degradation product) have a moderately toxic effect on the organism. Of the compounds studied, organic acids and aldehydes were found to be more inhibitory than lignin acids or the one alkaloid studied. Acetone:water and methanol extracts of solid biomass samples from red oak, white oak, and yellow poplar are toxic to Zymomonas cell growth and ethanol production, with the extracts from white oak being the most toxic.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)185-198
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology - Part A Enzyme Engineering and Biotechnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-420-21693


  • Ethanol
  • Oak
  • Recombinant
  • Toxicity
  • Xylose
  • Yellow-poplar
  • Zymomonas


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