Structural complexity of the nitrogen source and influence on yeast growth and fermentation
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The structural complexity of the nitrogen source strongly affects both biomass and ethanol production by industrial strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, during fermentation in media containing glucose or maltose, and supplemented with a nitrogen source varying from a single ammonium salt (ammonium sulfate) to free amino acids (casamino acids) and peptides (peptone). Diauxie was observed at low glucose and maltose concentrations independent of nitrogen supplementation. At high sugar concentrations diauxie was not easily observed. and growth and ethanol production depended on the nature of the nitrogen source. This was different for baking and brewing ale and lager yeast strains. Sugar concentration had a strong effect on the shift from oxido-fermentative to oxidative metabolism. At low sugar concentrations, biomass production was similar under both peptone and casamino acid supplementation. Under casamino acid supplementation, the time for metabolic shift increased with the glucose concentration, together with a decrease in the biomass production. This drastic effect on glucose fermentation resulted in the extinction of the second growth phase, probably due to the loss of cell viability. Ammonium salts always induced poor yeast performance. In general, supplementation with a nitrogen source in the peptide form (peptone) was more positive for yeast metabolism, inducing higher biomass and ethanol production, and preserving yeast viability, in both glucose and maltose media, for baking and brewing ale and lager yeast strains. Determination of amino acid utilization showed that most free and peptide amino acids present, in peptone and casamino acids, were utilized by the yeast, suggesting that the results described in this work were not due to a nutritional status induced by nitrogen limitation.