Yeast Biofuel

INDUSTRIAL BIOTECHNOLOGY  / Biofuels and Industrial Biotechnology

Research Interests

Yeast Biorefineries, Physiological Genomics, Synthetic Biology, Genome Editing, Microbial Drug Resistance, ABC transporters, sphingolipid

Description of Research

Microbial cell factories are excellent alternative for manufacturing bio-based chemicals including biofuel molecules. The advantage of microbial cell factories is that they can use low-value materials (agricultural waste) as a carbon source for growth and desired product synthesis. Thus, microbial cell factories have the potential to make a major contributions to the circular economy by extracting value from current waste streams. To this end the research group is exploiting synthetic biology and metabolic engineering approaches to develop yeast strains with a broad range of sugars (C5 and C6), utilisation capabilities and synthesising value-added compounds such as Xylitol, xylo-oligosaccharides, bio-alcohols and FAEE.

In any microbial cell factory substrates have to be taken up and the product exported (efflux system). The translocation of molecules across membranes requires the action of transporters. Membrane transporters are the gatekeepers of the cell controlling what is allowed in and out. We are elucidating the mechanism of substrate recognition and transport of foreign molecules by membrane bund transporters.

A second interest of the Group is in the field of Multi-drug resistance (MDR) research, with particular reference to fungal drug resistance. The laboratory is exploring role of epigenetic markers and molecular mechanisms of transcriptional control of gene regulation in human fungal pathogen such as Candida albicans, Candida glabrata and Candida auris.

Current projects in the Group aim to develop novel yeast strains for microbial biorefineries to produce fuels and chemicals in a cost-effective manner. The Group is developing robust yeast strains for the production of ethanol, fatty acid ethyl ester, xylitol, xylo-oligosaccharide, and TAG from molasses and lignocellulosic biomasses. The Group is focusing on scale-up studies for industrial use and advanced fuel and chemical production. Metabolomic profiling of Rhodosporidium toruloides by the Group revealed the diversion of the cytidinediphosphate-diacylglycerol and glycerol pathway towards de novo triacylglycerol synthesis (Journal of Fungi 2021). Carotenoid(s) extracted from red yeast showed antimalarial activity against P. falciparum (Biologia Futura, 2021) and the Ddi1 gene of P. falciparum was expressed and characterized in yeast in context of inhibition by artemisinin (Pathogens, 2021). Sphingolipidomics of drug resistant clinical isolates of Candida auris revealed distinct sphingolipid species signatures, compared with susceptible isolates (BBA-Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids, 2021).

Yeast metabolic engineering to develop strains capable of a wide rage of sugar utilisation, stress tolerance and production of industrially relevant compounds
Yeast metabolic engineering to develop strains capable of a wide rage of sugar utilisation, stress tolerance and production of industrially relevant compounds

Recent Publications

Kumari, P., Sharma, J., Singh, A. K., Pandey, A. K., Yusuf, F., Kumar, S., Gaur, N.A*. (2023). Tailored designing of a diploid S. cerevisiae natural isolate for increased production of fatty acid ethyl ester. Chemical Engineering Journal. Volume 453, Part 2, 1 February 2023, 139852

Deeba, F., Kumar, K. K., Wani, S. A., Kumar, A. K., Sharma, J., Gaur, N. A*. (2022). Enhanced biodiesel and β-carotene production in Rhodotorula pacifica INDKK using sugarcane bagasse and molasses by an integrated biorefinery framework. Bioresource Technology. 127067. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2022.127067. PMID: 35351564

    Sharma, J., Kumar, V., Prasad, R., Gaur, N.A*. (2022). Engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a consolidated bioprocessing host to produce cellulosic ethanol: Recent advancements and current challenges. Biotechnology Advances. 56:107925. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2022.107925. PMID: 35151789

    Pandey, A. K., Kumar, M., Kumari, S., Gaur, N. A*. (2022). Integration of acid pre-treated paddy straw hydrolysate to molasses as a diluent enhances ethanol production using a robust Saccharomyces cerevisiae NGY10 strain. Renewable Energy. 186; 790-80. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.renene.2022.01.039

    Kumari, S., Kumar, M., Esquivel, B. D., Wasi, M., Pamdey, A. K., Khandelwal, A. K., Mondal, A. K., White. T. C., Prasad, R., Gaur, N. A*. (2022). Unmasking of CgYor1-Dependent Azole Resistance Mediated by Target of Rapamycin (TOR) and Calcineurin Signaling in Candida glabrata. mBio. 18;13(1):e0354521. doi: 10.1128/mbio.03545-21. PMID: 35038899 

    Muzafar, S.,  Sharma, R. D., Shah, A, H., Gaur, N. A., Dasgupta, U., Chauhan, N., Prasad, R. (2020). Identification of Genomewide Alternative Splicing Events in Sequential, Isogenic Clinical Isolates of Candida albicans Reveals a Novel Mechanism of Drug Resistance and Tolerance to Cellular Stresses. mSphere. 5(4):e00608-20. doi: 10.1128/ mSphere.00608-20.PMID: 32817456


    Adesh K Saini, Sonam Kumari, Naseem A. Gaur. 2020. An antifungal composition comprising bark and leaves extract of populus ciliata plant and method of – Indian Patent Application No. 202011014386

    Naseem A Gaur, Rajendra Prasad, Sonam Verma, Mohit Kumar. 2020. ABC transporters deficient pathogenic yeast strain, overexpression system for characterization of membrane transporters and a process for the same – Indian Patent Application No. 201911008033

    Naseem A Gaur, Priya Kumari. 2020. Metabolic engineering of yeast for high level biodiesel production –  Indian Patent Application No. 201911029246