Yeast flocculation has been used in the brewing industry to facilitate biomass recovery for a long time, and thus its mechanism of yeast flocculation has been intensively studied. However, the application of flocculating yeast in ethanol production garnered attention mainly in the 1980s and 1990s. In this article, updated research progress in the molecular mechanism of yeast flocculation and the impact of environmental conditions on yeast flocculation is reviewed. Construction of flocculating yeast strains by genetic approach and utilization of yeast flocculation for ethanol production from various feedstocks were presented. The concept of self-immobilized yeast cells through their flocculation is revisited through a case study of continuous ethanol fermentation with the flocculating yeast SPSC01, and their technical and economic advantages are highlighted by comparing with yeast cells immobilized with supporting materials and regular free yeast cells as well. Taking the flocculating yeast SPSC01 as an example, the ethanol tolerance of the flocculating yeast was also discussed.
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