Strain engineering and metabolic flux analysis of a probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii for metabolizing l-fucose, a mammalian mucin component

Jungyeon Kim, Yu Eun Cheong, Sora Yu, Yong Su Jin, Kyoung Heon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic yeast that exhibits antimicrobial and anti-toxin activities. Although S. boulardii has been clinically used for decades to treat gastrointestinal disorders, several studies have reported weak or no beneficial effects of S. boulardii administration in some cases. These conflicting results of S. boulardii efficacity may be due to nutrient deficiencies in the intestine that make it difficult for S. boulardii to maintain its metabolic activity. Results: To enable S. boulardii to overcome any nutritional deficiencies in the intestine, we constructed a S. boulardii strain that could metabolize l-fucose, a major component of mucin in the gut epithelium. The fucU, fucI, fucK, and fucA from Escherichia coli and HXT4 from S. cerevisiae were overexpressed in S. boulardii. The engineered S. boulardii metabolized l-fucose and produced 1,2-propanediol under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. It also produced large amounts of 1,2-propanediol under strict anaerobic conditions. An in silico genome-scale metabolic model analysis was performed to simulate the growth of S. boulardii on l-fucose, and elementary flux modes were calculated to identify critical metabolic reactions for assimilating l-fucose. As a result, we found that the engineered S. boulardii consumes l-fucose via (S)-lactaldehyde-(S)-lactate-pyruvate pathway, which is highly oxygen dependent. Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study in which S. cerevisiae and S. boulardii strains capable of metabolizing l-fucose have been constructed. This strategy could be used to enhance the metabolic activity of S. boulardii and other probiotic microorganisms in the gut.

Original languageEnglish
Article number204
JournalMicrobial Cell Factories
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korea University Food Safety Hall for the Institute of Biomedical Science and Food Safety and by a Korea University Grant.

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (20018132) and the Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (321036051SB010).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Elementary flux mode analysis
  • Genome-scale metabolic model analysis
  • Saccharomyces boulardii
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • l-Fucose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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