Effect of salt hyperosmotic stress on yeast cell viability
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During fermentation for ethanol production, yeasts are subjected to different kinds of physico-chemical stresses such as: initially high sugar concentration and low temperature; and later, increased ethanol concentrations. Such conditions trigger a series of biological responses in an effort to maintain cell cycle progress and yeast cell viability. Regarding osmostress, many studies have been focused on transcriptional activation and gene expression in laboratory strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The overall aim of this present work was to further our understanding of wine yeast performance during fermentations under osmotic stress conditions. Specifically, the research work focused on the evaluation of NaCl-induced stress responses of an industrial wine yeast strain S. cerevisiae (VIN 13), particularly with regard to yeast cell growth and viability. The hypothesis was that osmostress conditions energized specific genes to enable yeast cells to survive under stressful conditions. Experiments were designed by pretreating cells with different sodium chloride concentrations (NaCl: 4%, 6% and 10% w/v) growing in defined media containing D-glucose and evaluating the impact of this on yeast growth and viability. Subsequent fermentation cycles took place with increasing concentrations of D-glucose (20%, 30%, 40% w/v) using salt-adapted cells as inocula. We present evidence that osmostress induced by mild salt pre-treatments resulted in beneficial influences on both cell viability and fermentation performance of an industrial wine yeast strain.