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Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.105, No.20, 8009-8018, 2021
Salt-stress adaptation of yeast as a simple method to improve high-gravity fermentation in an industrial medium
While Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a popular organism to produce ethanol, its fermentation performance is affected at high sugar concentrations due to osmotic stress. We hypothesized that adaptation under ionic stress conditions will improve the fermentation performance at high sugar concentrations due to cross-stress adaptation. We, therefore, adapted a high-performance yeast strain, S. cerevisiae CEN.PK 122, to increasing salt concentrations in an industrial medium. Control cells were adapted in the medium without added salt. The cells adapted to 3.5% (w/v) salt concentration demonstrated a superior performance when fermenting 10-30% (w/v) glucose. When fermenting 30% (w/v) glucose, the ethanol yields of the adapted cells (0.49 +/- 0.01 g g(-1)) were about 30% higher than the control cells (0.37 +/- 0.01 g g(-1)) and are comparable with the best reported to date for any medium employed. Similar improvements were also observed when fermenting 10% (w/v) sucrose. However, little improvement in fermentation was observed at the higher temperature tested (40 degrees C), even though the growth of the adapted cells was greater when tested in YPD medium. The improvements in fermentation at 30 degrees C were primarily related to the faster growth of the adapted cells and not to an increase in specific intake rates. Additionally, a significantly reduced lag phase was also observed when fermenting 30% (w/v) glucose. Thus, our work shows the application of a simple strategy to significantly improve high-gravity fermentation (HGF) performance through adaptation.