Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2022 Oct 13;10:1028185. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2022.1028185. eCollection 2022.
Advanced generation biofuels have potential for replacing fossil fuels as society moves forward into a net-zero carbon future. Marine biomass is a promising source of fermentable sugars for fermentative bioethanol production; however the medium derived from seaweed hydrolysis contains various inhibitors, such as salts that affected ethanol fermentation efficiency. In this study the stress tolerance of a marine yeast, Wickerhamomyces anomalus M15 was characterised. Specific growth rate analysis results showed that Wickerhamomyces anomalus M15 could tolerate up to 600 g/L glucose, 150 g/L xylose and 250 g/L ethanol, respectively. Using simulated concentrated seaweed hydrolysates, W. anomalus M15’s bioethanol production potential using macroalgae derived feedstocks was assessed, in which 5.8, 45.0, and 19.9 g/L ethanol was produced from brown (Laminaria digitata), green (Ulva linza) and red seaweed (Porphyra umbilicalis) based media. The fermentation of actual Ulva spp. hydrolysate harvested from United Kingdom shores resulted in a relatively low ethanol concentration (15.5 g/L) due to challenges that arose from concentrating the seaweed hydrolysate. However, fed-batch fermentation using simulated concentrated green seaweed hydrolysate achieved a concentration of 73 g/L ethanol in fermentations using both seawater and reverse osmosis water. Further fermentations conducted with an adaptive strain W. anomalus M15-500A showed improved bioethanol production of 92.7 g/L ethanol from 200 g/L glucose and reduced lag time from 93 h to 24 h in fermentation with an initial glucose concentration of 500 g/L. The results indicated that strains W. anomalus M15 and W. anomalus M15-500A have great potential for industrial bioethanol production using marine biomass derived feedstocks. It also suggested that if a concentrated high sugar content seaweed hydrolysate could be obtained, the bioethanol concentration could achieve 90 g/L or above, exceeding the minimum industrial production threshold.