Disclosed are recombinant host cells suitable for degrading an oligosaccharide that have been optimized for growth and production of high yields of ethanol, and methods of making and using these cells. The invention further provides minimal media comprising urea-like compounds for economical production of ethanol by recombinant microorganisms. Recombinant host cells in accordance with the invention are modified by gene mutation to eliminate genes responsible for the production of unwanted products other than ethanol, thereby increasing the yield of ethanol produced from the oligosaccharides, relative to unmutated parent strains. The new and improved strains of recombinant bacteria are capable of superior ethanol productivity and yield when grown under conditions suitable for fermentation in minimal growth media containing inexpensive reagents. Systems optimized for ethanol production combine a selected optimized minimal medium with a recombinant host cell optimized for use in the selected medium. Preferred systems are suitable for efficient ethanol production by simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) using lignocellulose as an oligosaccharide source. The invention also provides novel isolated polynucleotide sequences, polypeptide sequences, vectors and antibodies.
STATEMENT OF U.S. GOVERNMENT INTEREST
 Funding for the present invention was provided in part by the Government of the United States under Grant Nos.: 01-35504-10669 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and FG02-96ER20222 from the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government of the United States has certain rights in and to the invention.