The global brewing industry produces a large amount of waste, 85 % of this is composed of spent brewers’ grain. One use for this waste product is in the bioethanol industry where the yeast, S. cerevisiae uses the spent grain as a feedstock. Due to the nature of the feedstock, there is a lack of utilisable carbon for S. cerevisiae. To obtain optimum utilisation of the waste product in conjunction with high process efficiency, enhanced carbon metabolism of the production strain is required. As well as expanded nutrient utilisation there is also a requirement to maintain high ethanol production and ethanol tolerance that industrial strains have acquired in a preferred growth medium. We are using high-throughput phenotypic arrays to rapidly identify strains best able to grow in a wide range of conditions, including various carbon and nitrogen sources and multiple stress inducing conditions. This method has shown small but measurable differences between production strains in industrially relevant growth conditions. In collaboration with an industrial partner, both targeted and random chromosomal integration of transgenes have been made to multiple candidate production strains to improve recycled feedstock utilisation and process efficiency. In addition, whole genome sequencing is being utilised to interrogate the genetic basis for phenotypic differences between production strains. It has been found that some important null phenotypes are at the transcription level, this information is now in use to drive future rounds of genetic manipulation.

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