Flocculating yeasts are highly useful in fermentation processes because these cells can be separated easily from the fermentation mash. However, native yeasts are usually non-flocculating, including Kluyveromyces marxianus, which exhibits a potent high-temperature ethanol fermentation ability. We describe here the construction of flocculent K. marxianus strains via the introduction of the FLO1, FLO5, FLO9, and FLO10 genes from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The S. cerevisiae FLO genes were overexpressed by upstream insertion of the constitutive TDH3 promoter, resulting in flocculent S. cerevisiae strains. These TDH3p-FLO sequences were then amplified by PCR and introduced directly into a K. marxianus strain. These K. marxianus strains showed a flocculation phenotype, indicating that the introduced S. cerevisiae TDH3 promoter and all FLO genes were functional in this strain. Moreover, a flocculating K. marxianus strain showed the same ethanol production profile as that of its wild-type parent. The K. marxianus flocculating strains we generated should be useful in the future development of cost-effective fed-batch and continuous fermentation systems at high temperatures.
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