A synthetic medium to simulate sugarcane molasses

Felipe Senne de Oliveira Lino, Thiago Olitta Basso, Morten Otto Alexander Sommer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

442 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Developing novel microbial cell factories requires careful testing of candidates under industrially relevant conditions. However, this frequently occurs late during the strain development process. The availability of laboratory media that simulate industrial-like conditions might improve cell factory development, as they allow for strain construction and testing in the laboratory under more relevant conditions. While sugarcane molasses is one of the most important substrates for the production of biofuels and other bioprocess-based commodities, there are no defined media that faithfully simulate it. In this study, we tested the performance of a new synthetic medium simulating sugarcane molasses.
Results: Laboratory scale simulations of the Brazilian ethanol production process, using both sugarcane molasses and our synthetic molasses (SM), demonstrated good reproducibility of the fermentation performance, using yeast strains, PE-2 and Ethanol RedTM. After 4 cycles of fermentation, the final ethanol yield (ggs-1) values for the SM ranged from 0.43 ± 0.01 to 0.44 ±- 0.01 and from 0.40 ± 0.01 to 0.46 ± 0.01 for the molasses-based fermentations. The other fermentation parameters (i.e., biomass production, yeast viability, and glycerol and acetic acid yield) were also within similar value ranges for all the fermentations. Sequential pairwise competition experiments, comparing industrial and laboratory yeast strains, demonstrated the impact of the media on strain fitness. After two sequential cocultivations, the relative abundance of the laboratory yeast strain was 5-fold lower in the SM compared to the yeast extract-peptone-dextrose medium, highlighting the importance of the media composition on strain fitness.Conclusions: Simulating industrial conditions at laboratory scale is a key part of the efficient development of novel microbial cell factories. In this study, we have developed a synthetic medium that simulated industrial sugarcane molasses media. We found good agreement between the synthetic medium and the industrial media in terms of the physiological parameters of the industrial-like fermentations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number221
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Open access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)


  • Yeast fermentation
  • Synthetic molasses
  • Microbial physiology
  • Industrial strains
  • Strain fitness
  • Pairwise cultivation


Dive into the research topics of 'A synthetic medium to simulate sugarcane molasses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this