• ethanol fermentation;
  • Kluyveromyces marxianus;
  • raw starch;
  • cassava;
  • elevated temperature

Raw starch and raw cassava tuber powder were directly and efficiently fermented at elevated temperatures to produce ethanol using the thermotolerant yeast Kluyveromyces marxianus that expresses α-amylase from Aspergillus oryzae as well as α-amylase and glucoamylase from Debaryomyces occidentalis. Among the constructed K. marxianus strains, YRL 009 had the highest efficiency in direct starch fermentation. Raw starch from corn, potato, cassava, or wheat can be fermented at temperatures higher than 40°C. At the optimal fermentation temperature 42°C, YRL 009 produced 66.52 g/L ethanol from 200 g/L cassava starch, which was the highest production among the selected raw starches. This production increased to 79.75 g/L ethanol with a 78.3% theoretical yield (with all cassava starch were consumed) from raw cassava starch at higher initial cell densities. Fermentation was also carried out at 45 and 48°C. By using 200 g/L raw cassava starch, 137.11 and 87.71 g/L sugar were consumed with 55.36 and 32.16 g/L ethanol produced, respectively. Furthermore, this strain could directly ferment 200 g/L nonsterile raw cassava tuber powder (containing 178.52 g/L cassava starch) without additional nutritional supplements to produce 69.73 g/L ethanol by consuming 166.07 g/L sugar at 42°C. YRL 009, which has consolidated bioprocessing ability, is the best strain for fermenting starches at elevated temperatures that has been reported to date. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 30:338–347, 2014