Purdue Research Foundation issued a formal call for proposals from companies interested in licensing and commercializing recombinant yeasts capable of more effectively producing ethanol from cellulosic biomass.
During the 1980s and 1990s, researchers at Purdue University’s Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering, or LORRE, altered the genetic structure of Saccharomyces yeast to enable the conversion of the two major sugars found in cellulosic materials—glucose and xylose—into ethanol.
Purdue’s genetically altered yeast allows about 40% more ethanol to be made from sugars derived from agricultural residues, such as corn stalks and wheat straw, compared with wild-type yeasts. The first, non-exclusive license for the yeast was issued to the Canadian cellulosic ethanol company Iogen Corp. in 2004.
We have confirmed that Purdue’s recombinant glucose- and xylose-fermenting yeast is the most effective microorganism available for the production of ethanol from cellulosic materials. The ethanol yield and productivity from the Purdue yeast in our plant matches that obtained by Dr. Ho's group in the lab at Purdue. The Purdue yeast is also easy to work with and is favored by our plant operators because of this.—Jeffrey S. Tolan, senior research scientist for Iogen, in 2004
The yeast has been demonstrated to be very well-adapted to industrial applications. In addition to dramatically increasing the production of ethanol, the use of cellulosic materials can open up new markets for crop residues such as corn stover and new crops, such as switch grass, which can be grown on marginal lands.—Joseph Hornett, senior vice president and COO of Purdue Research Foundation
The request for proposals (RFP) seeks business partners that can develop and market the existing yeasts as well as develop new and improved derivatives from the existing yeasts for value-added applications.
U.S. Patent No. 5,789,210: Recombinant yeasts for effective fermentation of glucose and xylose