Thermochemical processing of biomass by fast pyrolysis provides a nonenzymatic route for depolymerization of biomass into sugars that can be used for the biological production of fuels and chemicals. Fermentative utilization of this bio-oil faces two formidable challenges. First is the fact that most bio-oil-associated sugars are present in the anhydrous form. Metabolic engineering has enabled utilization of the main anhydrosugar, levoglucosan, in workhorse biocatalysts. The second challenge is the fact that bio-oil is rich in microbial inhibitors. Collection of bio-oil in distinct fractions, detoxification of bio-oil prior to fermentation, and increased robustness of the biocatalyst have all proven effective methods for addressing this inhibition.