The physiology of industrial yeast in continuous culture

  • Forbes Wardrop

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The physiology of industrial yeasts in continuous culture: F. R. Wardrop

The growth and physiology of Saccharomyces cerevisiae GB4918 (baker’s yeast) was studied under glucose-limitation in chemostat culture. Levels of lg/1 (0.1% w /v) glucose allowed cell growth while preventing fermentation in a defined medium (QEMM3). Metabolism of glucose by respiration or fermentation was shown to affect the mean cell volume, with fermentative use of glucose causing an increase in cell size. This was also a major physiological difference between S. cerevisiae GB4918 (a Crabtree positive yeast) and Kliiyveromyces marxianus DBVPG 6165 (a Crabtree negative yeast). The ability of the Crabtree positive yeast to substantially increase its mean cell volume was also reflected in a 5-fold greater consumption of glucose, reduced biomass yield and increased ethanol yield, compared with the Crabtree negative K . marxianus. Growth of both these yeasts was seen in 50g/l glucose in the presence of the respiratory inhibitor, antimycin A. This was evident by the switching to fermentation in K . marxianus, and the complete fermentation of glucose by S. cerevisiae. The growth and physiology of S. cerevisiae GB4918 was also established in glucose-limited chemostat cultures, with special regard to the intracellular macromolecular compounds that are relevant to industrial yeast biomass production. This showed that in respiring cultures of S. cerevisiae, increasing growth rate resulted in decrease in both trehalose and glycogen content, while increasing protein and RNA. This is true until μmax (in this context the growth rate at which respiro-fermentativemetabolism occurs) when accumulation of trehalose and glycogen is apparent. Once μerit (growth rate at which washout of the culture begins) was reached then biomass significantly reduced. In describing the steady-state condition of baker’s yeast it was then possible to describe changes occurring in yeast when subjected to a variety of nutrient perturbations. With a lactic acid (2% v/v) perturbation there were dramatic effects on both growth and metabolism at a growth rate of 0.12h_1, but significant decreases in biomass and protein, and significant increases in trehalose and glycogen. At a higher growth rate (0.22h_1) the effect was much severer on protein content, and on reduced levels of trehalose and glycogen. The effect of perturbing the cultures with elevated levels of calcium was also most significant on reducing yeast trehalose and glycogen levels, probably due to inhibition of the biosynthesis of these compounds. Zinc additions to chemostat cultures acted to increase the levels of protein in the cells,while having little effect on any of the other cellular macromolecules. This suggests that increasing calcium levels during the latter stages of yeast propagations may produce a yeast with reduced stress responses. Increased zinc may also encourage a greater protein content, which would, in turn, provide a better nutritive content for both protein and amino acids in yeasts destined for use as a food additive.
Date of AwardJun 1999
Original languageEnglish
SponsorsQuest International Ltd.
SupervisorGraeme Walker (Supervisor)

Cite this