Ethanol Tolerant Yeast for Improved Production of Ethanol from Biomass

Audrey Gasch, Jeffrey Lewis

Ethanol 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 Invention

UW–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.

Key Benefits
  • 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
  • Production of ethanol from biomass
  • Alcohol production
  • Manufacture of frozen bread dough
Technology Contact

For current licensing status, please contact Mark Staudt at or (608) 265-3084.

Sustainable Biomass Conversion