Rapid strain improvement through optimized evolution in the cytostat

Alan Gilbert, Dipen P. Sangurdekar, Friedrich Srienc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Acetate is present in lignocellulosic hydrolysates at growth inhibiting concentrations. Industrial processes based on such feedstock require strains that are tolerant of this and other inhibitors present. We investigated the effect of acetate on Saccharomyces cerevisiae and show that elevated acetate concentrations result in a decreased specific growth rate, an accumulation of cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle, and an increased cell size. With the cytostat cultivation technology under previously derived optimal operating conditions, several acetate resistant mutants were enriched and isolated in the shortest possible time. In each case, the isolation time was less than 5 days. The independently isolated mutant strains have increased specific growth rates under conditions of high acetate concentrations, high ethanol concentrations, and high temperature. In the presence of high acetate concentrations, the isolated mutants produce ethanol at higher rates and titers than the parental strain and a commercial ethanol producing strain that has been analyzed for comparison. Whole genome microarray analysis revealed gene amplifications in each mutant. In one case, the LPP1 gene, coding for lipid phosphate phosphatase, was amplified. Two mutants contained amplified ENA1, ENA2, and ENA5 genes, which code for P-type ATPase sodium pumps. LPP1 was overexpressed on a plasmid, and the growth data at elevated acetate concentrations suggest that LPP1 likely contributes to the phenotype of acetate tolerance. A diploid cross of the two mutants with the amplified ENA genes grew faster than either individual haploid parent strain when 20 g/L acetate was supplemented to the medium, which suggests that these genes contribute to acetate tolerance in a gene dosage dependent manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-512
Number of pages13
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 15 2009


  • Cytostat
  • Evolution
  • Lignocellulosic ethanol
  • Robust strains
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae


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