This invention relates to the metabolic evolution of a microbial organism previously optimized for producing an organic acid in commercially significant quantities under fermentative conditions using a hexose sugar as sole source of carbon in a minimal mineral medium. As a result of this metabolic evolution, the microbial organism acquires the ability to use pentose sugars derived from cellulosic materials for its growth while retaining the original growth kinetics, the rate of organic acid production and the ability to use hexose sugars as a source of carbon. This invention also discloses the genetic change in the microorganism that confers the ability to use both the hexose and pentose sugars simultaneously in the production of commercially significant quantities of organic acids.
 This invention was made with United States government support under a contract awarded from the US Department of Energy under Award Number DE-EE0002878/001. The United States government has certain rights in the invention.