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J Appl Microbiol. 2007 Nov;103(5):1576-86.

Response of wine yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) aldehyde dehydrogenases to acetaldehyde stress during Icewine fermentation.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.



We previously reported that the aldehyde dehydrogenase encoded by ALD3 but not ALD6 was responsible, in part, for the increased acetic acid found in Icewines based on the expression profile of these genes during fermentation. We have now completed the expression profile of the remaining yeast aldehyde dehydrogenase genes ALD2, ALD4 and ALD5 during these fermentations to determine their contribution to acetic acid production. The contribution of acetaldehyde stress as a signal to stimulate ALD expression during these fermentations was investigated for all ALD genes. The expression of glycerol-3-phosphate encoded by GPD2 was also followed during these fermentations to determine its role in addition to the role we already identified for GPD1 in the elevated glycerol produced during Icewine fermentation.


Icewine juice (38.5 degrees Brix, 398 +/- 5 g l(-1) sugar), diluted Icewine juice (20.8 degrees Brix, 196 +/- 4 g l(-1) sugar) and the diluted juice with sugar levels equal to the original Icewine juice (36.6 degrees Brix, 395 +/- 6 g l(-1) sugar) were fermented in duplicate using the commercial wine yeast K1-V1116. Acetic acid and glycerol production increased 8.4- and 2.7-fold in the Icewine vs the diluted juice fermentation, respectively, accompanied by a fourfold transient increase in acetaldehyde in the Icewine condition during the first week. Both mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenases encoded by ALD4 and ALD5 were expressed, with ALD5 expression highest at the start of all fermentations and ALD4 expression increasing during the first week of each condition. ALD2, ALD4, ALD5 and GPD2 showed no differential expression between the three fermentation conditions indicating their lack of involvement in elevating acetic acid and glycerol in Icewine. When yeast fermenting the diluted fermentation was exposed to exogenous acetaldehyde, the transient spike in acetaldehyde increased the expression of ALD3 but this response alone was not sufficient to cause an increase in acetic acid. Expression of the other aldehyde dehydrogenases was unaffected by the acetaldehyde addition.


The aldehyde dehydrogenases encoded by ALD2, ALD4 and ALD5 do not contribute to the elevated acetic acid production during Icewine fermentation. Expression of GPD2 was not upregulated in high sugar fermentations and does not reflect the elevated levels of glycerol found in these wines. Acetaldehyde at a concentration produced during Icewine fermentation stimulates the expression of ALD3, but has no impact on the expression of ALD2, -4, -5 and -6. Upregulation of ALD3 alone in the dilute fermentation is not sufficient to increase acetic acid in wine and requires additional responses found in cells under hyperosmotic stress.


This work confirms that increased acetic acid and glycerol production during Icewine fermentation follows upregulation of ALD3 and GPD1 respectively, but upregulation of ALD3 alone is not sufficient to increase acetic acid production. Additional responses of cells under osmotic stress are required to increase acetic acid in Icewine.

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