Here we have shown that two microorganisms that normally would not co-exist due to differences in temperature optimums can be grown with one at suboptimal temperature, and together, they uniquely convert biomass to fermentation chemicals more rapidly and efficiently than either microorganism could accomplish alone. Additionally the two microorganisms provide different depolymerizing enzymes so act synergistically to more efficiently breakdown the biomass carbohydrates, while leaving lignin intact. Also, these microorganisms can be grown on biomass sequentially providing initial biological “pretreatment” at one temperature and a more complete fermentation with the second microorganism as the other temperature.
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