Project 16: Engineering of Kluyveromyces marxianus for production of bulk chemicals in biorefinery

The objective is to enable rapid engineering of K. marxianus by developing synthetic biology toolbox and to generate proof-of-concept strains for production of bulk chemicals from C6 and C5 carbon sources. The strains should preferably operate under SSF.

Website:  Yeast Metabolic Engineering Group

Research Interests


In second-generation biorefineries, pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis steps are applied to turn biomass feedstock into monomeric sugars (major components are glucose, xylose, and arabinose). These sugars are subsequently converted into desired products using microbes. Yeast Kluyveromyces marxianus is an attractive cell factory for this conversion process owing to its excellent tolerance of high temperature and growth inhibitors as well as its natural ability to consume the biomass hydrolysate sugars. Since K. marxianus is a considerably new cell factory, the tools for genomic manipulation of this yeast are not well-developed yet. My project aims to develop synthetic biology tools to enable metabolic engineering of K. marxianus. By employing these synthetic biology tools, novel cell factories to convert biomass hydrolysate to organic acids will be created. These organic acids will find application, for example, in food, pharmaceutical, coating and adhesive, bioplastic, and textile industries.

About the Project

Eko Roy Marella