Furfural, one of the most common inhibitors in pre-treatment hydrolysates, reduces the cell growth and ethanol production of yeast. Evolutionary engineering has been used as a selection scheme to obtain yeast strains that exhibit furfural tolerance. However, the response of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to furfural at the metabolite level during evolution remains unknown. In this study, evolutionary engineering and metabolomic analyses were applied to determine the effects of furfural on yeasts and their metabolic response to continuous exposure to furfural. After 50 serial transfers of cultures in the presence of furfural, the evolved strains acquired the ability to stably manage its physiological status under the furfural stress. A total of 98 metabolites were identified, and their abundance profiles implied that yeast metabolism was globally regulated. Under the furfural stress, stress-protective molecules and cofactor-related mechanisms were mainly induced in the parental strain. However, during evolution under the furfural stress, S. cerevisiae underwent global metabolic allocations to quickly overcome the stress, particularly by maintaining higher levels of metabolites related to energy generation, cofactor regeneration and recovery from cellular damage. Mapping the mechanisms of furfural tolerance conferred by evolutionary engineering in the present study will be led to rational design of metabolically engineered yeasts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology