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Integrated genomic approaches to understand stress tolerance in bioethanol-producing yeasts and coral reef symbionts

Grant number: 18/15159-9
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: November 01, 2018 - October 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology
Cooperation agreement: University of Queensland
Principal Investigator:Jeferson Gross
Grantee:Jeferson Gross
Principal investigator abroad: Cheong Xin Chan
Institution abroad: University of Queensland, Brisbane (UQ), Australia
Home Institution: Instituto de Pesquisa em Bioenergia (IPBEN). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro, SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/13972-1 - Evaluation of adaptive mutations to etanol stress in yeasts, AP.BIOEN.R

Abstract

Yeasts are biotechnologically important microorganisms that can efficiently convert carbohydrate to alcohol. They have been historically used for bioethanol production utilizing sugarcane biomass in Brazil. A stronger resilience of yeast to alcohol content during industrial fermentation processes is highly desirable to enhance bioethanol yield. This mobility project will strengthen current collaborations between the Gross Group at UNESP, Brazil, and the Chan Group at the University of Queensland, Australia. This project aims to understand how yeasts evolve in response to alcohol-stress using genome-scale data from yeast, and lay the foundation for studying stress response of coral reef symbionts (the algae Symbiodinium) in Australia. This Project strategically combines experimental evolution of yeasts developed by Gross with sophisticated genomic workflows developed by Chan for the most peculiar microbial genomes known: Symbiodinium. We will identify genome features of bioethanol-producing strains including genes and functions related to alcohol- and stress-tolerance, and assess genome evolution of yeasts upon exposure to increased alcohol content. Knowledge from this work will guide optimization of yeast strains for industrial-scale bioethanol production through selective culturing and/or genetic modification, and will be directly applied to study stress responses in coral symbionts towards engineering more-resilient coral reefs in the light of global climate change. This Project will benefit Australia and Brazil by applying innovative genomic and experimental approaches to understand more deeply molecular mechanisms that underpin microbial stress responses. (AU)