WARF: P100228US02

Ethanol Tolerant Yeast for Improved Production of Ethanol from Biomass


Audrey Gasch, Jeffrey Lewis

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a recombinant yeast strain with improved ethanol tolerance.
OVERVIEWEthanol production from cellulosic biomass can make a significant contribution toward decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels.  However, the fermentation of biomass can be problematic.  One bottleneck in this process is the toxicity of ethanol to microbes such as the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed a method of using the Elongase I (ELO1) gene to impart ethanol tolerance to yeast. ELO1 is an enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of unsaturated fatty acids in yeast.  This gene could be incorporated into an industrial yeast strain to increase the amount of ethanol produced from biomass.
  • Production of ethanol from biomass
  • Alcohol production
  • Manufacture of frozen bread dough
  • Makes yeast less sensitive to ethanol
  • Increased ethanol tolerance allows more ethanol to be produced per batch, decreasing costs and energy consumption
  • Could be incorporated into an industrial fermentation yeast strain
For More Information About the Inventors
  • Lewis J.A., Elkon I.M., McGee M.A., Higbee A.J. and Gasch A.P. 2010. Exploiting Natural Variation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to Identify Genes for Increased Ethanol Resistance. Genetics 186, 1197-1205.
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Mark Staudt at or (608) 265-3084.
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