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Anaerobic glycerol production by Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains under hyperosmotic stress


Glycerol formation is vital for reoxidation of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (reduced form; NADH) under anaerobic conditions and for the hyperosmotic stress response in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, relatively few studies have been made on hyperosmotic stress under anaerobic conditions. To study the combined effect of salt stress and anaerobic conditions, industrial and laboratory strains of S. cerevisiae were grown anaerobically on glucose in batch-cultures containing 40 g/l NaCl. The time needed for complete glucose conversion increased considerably, and the specific growth rates decreased by 80–90% when the cells were subjected to the hyperosmotic conditions. This was accompanied by an increased yield of glycerol and other by-products and reduced biomass yield in all strains. The slowest fermenting strain doubled its glycerol yield (from 0.072 to 0.148 g/g glucose) and a nearly fivefold increase in acetate formation was seen. In more tolerant strains, a lower increase was seen in the glycerol and in the acetate, succinate and pyruvate yields. Additionally, the NADH-producing pathway from acetaldehyde to acetate was analysed by overexpressing the stress-induced gene ALD3. However, this had no or very marginal effect on the acetate and glycerol yields. In the control experiments, the production of NADH from known sources well matched the glycerol formation. This was not the case for the salt stress experiments in which the production of NADH from known sources was insufficient to explain the formed glycerol.

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The authors would like to thank A. Forsmark for her assistance in the mRNA analyses. This work was supported by grants from the Swedish Research Council.

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Correspondence to Tobias Modig.

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Modig, T., Granath, K., Adler, L. et al. Anaerobic glycerol production by Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains under hyperosmotic stress. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 75, 289–296 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-006-0821-8

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  • ALD3
  • Glycerol
  • Osmotic stress
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae