Mechanisms of yeast stress tolerance and its manipulation for efficient fuel ethanol production

J Biotechnol. 2009 Oct 12;144(1):23-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2009.05.001. Epub 2009 May 14.


Yeast strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been extensively studied in recent years for fuel ethanol production, in which yeast cells are exposed to various stresses such as high temperature, ethanol inhibition, and osmotic pressure from product and substrate sugars as well as the inhibitory substances released from the pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass. An in-depth understanding of the mechanism of yeast stress tolerance contributes to breeding more robust strains for ethanol production, especially under very high gravity conditions. Taking advantage of the "omics" technology, the stress response and defense mechanism of yeast cells during ethanol fermentation were further explored, and the newly emerged tools such as genome shuffling and global transcription machinery engineering have been applied to breed stress resistant yeast strains for ethanol production. In this review, the latest development of stress tolerance mechanisms was focused, and improvement of yeast stress tolerance by both random and rational tools was presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Biofuels / analysis*
  • Ethanol / chemical synthesis*
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology*
  • Stress, Physiological*


  • Biofuels
  • Ethanol