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J Appl Microbiol. 2005;98(2):525-31.

Flocculation onset in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: the role of nutrients.

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KHLim, Departement Industriele Wetenschappen en Technologie, Universitaire Campus, Gebouw B, Diepenbeek, Belgium.



To examine the role of the nutrients on the onset of flocculation in an ale-brewing strain, Saccharomyces cerevisiae NCYC 1195.


Flocculation was evaluated using the method of Soares, E.V. and Vroman, A. [Journal of Applied Microbiology (2003) 95, 325]. For cells grown in chemically defined medium (yeast nitrogen base with glucose) or in rich medium (containing yeast extract, peptone and fermentable sugars: fructose or maltose), the onset of flocculation occurred after the end of exponential respiro-fermentative phase of growth being coincident with the attainment of the lower level of carbon source in the culture medium. Cells, in exponential respiro-fermentative phase of growth, transferred to a glucose-containing medium without nitrogen source, developed a flocculent phenotype, while these carbon source starved cells, in the presence of all other nutrients that support growth, did not flocculate. In addition, cells in exponential phase of growth, under catabolite repression, when transferred to a medium containing 0.2% (w/v) of fermentable sugar (fructose or maltose) or 2% (v/v) ethanol, showed a rapid triggering of flocculation, while when incubated in 2% (v/v) glycerol did not develop a flocculent phenotype.


The onset of flocculation occurs when a low sugar and/or nitrogen concentration is reached in culture media. The triggering of flocculation is an energetic dependent process influenced by the carbon source metabolism. The presence of external nitrogen source is not necessary for developing a flocculent phenotype.


This work contributes to the elucidation of the role of nutrients on the onset of flocculation in NewFlo phenotype yeast strains. This information might be useful to the brewing industry, in the control of yeast flocculation, as the time when the onset of flocculation occurs can determine the fermentation performance and the beer quality.

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