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The new yeast can ferment the sugar arabinose in addition to the other sugars found in plant material such as corn stalks, straw, switchgrass and other crop residues.
"Natural yeast can ferment three sugars: galactose, manose and glucose," Ho said. "The original Ho yeast added xylose to that, and now the fifth, arabinose, has been added."
"It inhibits the microorganism. It doesn't produce as much biofuel, and it produces it more slowly," Mosier said. "If it slows down too much, it's not a good industrial process."