Co-production of Hydroxyprogesterone and Ethanol using Recombinant Yeast

In a biofuel refinery, co-production of valuable chemicals from both plant material and microbial biomass is desirable. Fungal production of steroids was among the first industrial transformations allowing corticosteroid production. The team of Claire M. Hull from Swansea University Medical School in Wales reports the co-production of ethanol and hydroxyprogesterone, an intermediate in corticosteroid production, by yeasts using perennial ryegrass juice.

Genes encoding the 11α-steroid hydroxylase enzymes from Aspergillus ochraceus (11α-SHAoch) and Rhizopus oryzae (CYP509C12) were transformed into two separate Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains. Both recombinant yeasts exhibited efficient hydroxyprogesterone conversion. Ethanol yields of both recombinants showed ≥75% conversion of glucose to alcohol.

This study demonstrates the application of recombinant yeasts in biorefinery processes where co-production of value-added products is an attractive possibility.


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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