In the UK, a new study pinpoints five strains of yeast capable of turning agricultural by-products, such as straw, sawdust and corncobs, into bioethanol – a well-known alcohol-based biofuel. It is estimated that more than 400 billion liters of bioethanol could be produced each year from crop wastage.
The research team from the University of East Anglia investigated more than 70 strains of yeast to find the most tolerant. They found five strains which were resistant to the toxic compound furfural, and which produced the highest ethanol yield. Of the five furfural tolerant strains S. cerevisiae NCYC 3451 displayed the greatest furfural resistance. The genomic lineage of this strain links it to yeast used in the production of the Japanese rice wine Sake.