The introduction of the fungal D-galacturonate pathway enables the consumption of D-galacturonic acid by Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Alessandra Biz (Corresponding Author), Maura Harumi Sugai-Guérios, Joosu Kuivanen, Hannu Maaheimo, Nadja Krieger, David Alexander Mitchell, Peter Richard (Corresponding Author)

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Background: Pectin-rich wastes, such as citrus pulp and sugar beet pulp, are produced in considerable amounts by the juice and sugar industry and could be used as raw materials for biorefineries. One possible process in such biorefineries is the hydrolysis of these wastes and the subsequent production of ethanol. However, the ethanol-producing organism of choice, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is not able to catabolize d-galacturonic acid, which represents a considerable amount of the sugars in the hydrolysate, namely, 18 % (w/w) from citrus pulp and 16 % (w/w) sugar beet pulp. Results: In the current work, we describe the construction of a strain of S. cerevisiae in which the five genes of the fungal reductive pathway for d-galacturonic acid catabolism were integrated into the yeast chromosomes: gaaA, gaaC and gaaD from Aspergillus niger and lgd1 from Trichoderma reesei, and the recently described d-galacturonic acid transporter protein, gat1, from Neurospora crassa. This strain metabolized d-galacturonic acid in a medium containing d-fructose as co-substrate. Conclusion: This work is the first demonstration of the expression of a functional heterologous pathway for d-galacturonic acid catabolism in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is a preliminary step for engineering a yeast strain for the fermentation of pectin-rich substrates to ethanol.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobial Cell Factories
Issue number144
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



  • ethanol
  • d-galacturonic acid
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • citrus pulp
  • metabolic engineering

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