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Rhizopus oryzae is a filamentous fungus, belonging to the order Mucorales. It can ferment a wide range of carbohydrates hydrolyzed from lignocellulosic materials and even cellobiose to produce ethanol. However, R. oryzae also produces lactic acid as a major metabolite, which reduces the yield of ethanol. In this study, we show that significant reduction of lactic acid production could be achieved by short (25nt) synthetic siRNAs targeting the ldhA gene. The average yield of lactic acid production by R. oryzae during the batch fermentation process, where glucose had been used as a sole carbon source, diminished from 0.07gm/gm in wild type to 0.01gm/gm in silenced samples. In contrast, the average yield of ethanol production increased from 0.39gm/gm in wild type to 0.45gm/gm in silenced samples. These results show 85.7% (gm/gm) reduction in lactic acid production as compared with the wild type R. oryzae, while an increase of 15.4% (gm/gm) in ethanol yield.
siRNA, delivery, Rhizopus oryzae, ldhA gene, lactate dehydrogenase, lactic acid, ethanol production, RNAi, Gene Silencing