Chitin, which is a polymer of β-(1-4) linked N-acetyl-d-glucosamine (GlcNAc) residues, is one of the most abundant renewable resources in nature, after cellulose. In this study, we found some native Mucor strains, which can use GlcNAc and chitin substrates as carbon sources for growth and ethanol production. One of these strains, M. circinelloides NBRC 6746 produced 18.6 ± 0.6. g/l of ethanol from 50. g/l of GlcNAc after 72. h and the maximum ethanol production rate was 0.75 ± 0.1. g/l/h. Furthermore, M. circinelloides NBRC 4572 produced 6.00 ± 0.22 and 0.46 ± 0.04. g/l of ethanol from 50. g/l of colloidal chitin and chitin powder after 16 and 12 days, respectively. We also found an extracellular chitinolytic enzyme producing strain M. ambiguus NBRC 8092, and successfully improved ethanol productivity of NBRC 4572 from colloidal chitin using crude chitinolytic enzyme derived from NBRC 8092. The ethanol titer reached 9.44 ± 0.10. g/l after 16 days. These results were the first bioethanol production from GlcNAc and chitin substrates by native organisms, and also suggest that these Mucor strains have great potential for the simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) of chitin biomass. © 2013.
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