Canadian Biomass Magazine

Ingenza, Phibro Ethanol engineer novel yeast strain to increase bioethanol yield

October 18, 2023
By Ingenza

Ingenza used proprietary strain construction and ALE technology to develop Phibro’s novel yeast strain KinetX, supporting U.S. bioethanol production. Photo supplied.

Ingenza and Phibro Ethanol – a division of Phibro Animal Health Corporation – have joined forces to engineer a novel yeast strain that will increase yield in the commercial production of bioethanol under both challenging and conventional environmental conditions, further driving the switch to clean biofuels. This latest innovation – arising from a productive and long-standing partnership between the two companies – will help to make this valuable natural resource more widely available for processing into sustainable fuels across a range of industries.

In the U.S., bioethanol is produced by fermenting typically corn-based biomass with yeast. However, large volumes of enzymes, including glucoamylase (GA) must be added to render the glucose in this feedstock available to the yeast. In addition, the elevated temperatures generated in the production vessels can stress the yeast, resulting in reduced fermentation performance and, subsequently, lower ethanol yield.

The successful partnership between Ingenza and Phibro sought to solve this issue, and led to the introduction of KinetX yeast solutions – a highly thermotolerant yeast strain that secretes GA throughout growth and fermentation stages – into the market. The novel strain was obtained using Ingenza’s proprietary strain construction and adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE) platforms. It offers superior robustness and reliability at higher temperatures while greatly reducing GA addition in comparison to traditional yeasts, bringing significant financial benefits to bioethanol producers. Additional next generation yeast lines in the KinetX portfolio will shortly debut on the international market alongside other programmes incorporating other novel technologies to deliver even higher bioethanol yields.

Dr. Leonardo Magneschi, head of molecular biology at Ingenza, said: “Increasing the efficiency of bioethanol production is crucial to boost the commercial viability of biofuels as green alternatives to the fossil fuels we currently rely on. We are strongly committed to Phibro’s goals, and we are confident our ongoing collaboration will play a leading role in reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation sector, helping to achieve global sustainability targets.”


Dr. Stephanie Gleason, director of technology at Phibro, said: “Ingenza’ s expertise in custom-built strain development, ALE, high throughput screening and technology transfer has been key to the successful implementation and scale-up of our industry-leading products. We look forward to working with Ingenza in the future to implement additional innovations that will further support the worldwide transition to environmentally friendly, bio-based fuels.”

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