Inhibitor Tolerance: A Comparison between Rhizopus sp. and Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Somayeh FazeliNejad, Tomas Brandberg, Patrik R. Lennartsson, Mohammad J. Taherzadeh


Zygomycetes fungi are able to produce ethanol, and their biomass may hold a high market value, making them interesting microorganisms from a biorefinery perspective. In the present study, the inhibitor tolerance of the Zygomycetes fungus Rhizopus sp. was evaluated and compared with a flocculating strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The inhibitors furfural, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural [HMF], acetic acid, and levulinic acid and the phenolic compounds catechol, guaiacol, and vanillin were applied in different combinations in a semi-synthetic medium. Glucose uptake and conversion of HMF in the presence of inhibitors were analyzed for the two organisms, and it appeared that the inhibitor resistances of Rhizopus sp. and S. cerevisiae were comparable. However, in the presence of catechol (0.165 g L-1), guaiacol (0.186 g L-1), and vanillin (0.30 g L-1), the glucose uptake by S. cerevisiae was only 3.5% of its uptake in a medium without inhibitors, while under equal conditions, Rhizopus sp. maintained 43% of its uninhibited glucose uptake.


Rhizopus; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Inhibitor tolerance; Phenolic compounds; Carboxylic acids; Furans

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