One of Japan's largest sake manufacturers, Gekkeikan, has announced the development of a new "super yeast" able to produce cellulosic ethanol from non-edible parts of plants, such as paddy straw and chaff. The super yeast that produces alcohol was created with genetic engineering, by integrating koji mold genes that produce cellulolytic enzymes into sake yeast. These enzymes become densely displayed on the surfaces of the yeast cells. Since this super yeast has the functions of the standard koji mold, it achieves one-step production of ethanol from pretreated cellulose. The company claims the whole process is completed with a new easier pre-treatment at high temperature and pressure, which saves energy and uses insignificant chemical components.
[Source: Japan for Sustainability