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Int J Food Microbiol. 2008 Mar 31;123(1-2):93-100. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2007.12.004. Epub 2007 Dec 23.

Growth rate and medium composition strongly affect folate content in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering/Food Science, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden.


Folate content in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain was monitored during aerobic batch fermentation in synthetic growth medium, yeast peptone dextrose medium, and a molasses based medium. During growth in the synthetic medium large differences in intracellular folate content was observed at different phases. Specific folate levels, expressed per unit biomass, were highest during respiro-fermentative growth (120 microg/g) and decreased during the respiratory and stationary phases. Thus, the physiological state of the cells clearly affects the folate content. This was confirmed in chemostat cultures where total intracellular folate content increased linearly with increasing growth rate (r(2)=0.998), indicating high growth rate i.e. respiro-fermentative growth to be most favourable to obtain high specific folate content. In complex media however, much lower folate content (15-40 microg/g) was found throughout the batch growth. Only minor growth-phase related differences were detected. This shows the impact of cultivation medium on folate content in yeast. To further investigate which components that influence folate content, batch experiments in synthetic medium with addition of specific components were performed. Adding a raw mixture of peptides and amino acids (peptone) decreased folate levels extensively (90%) whereas adding amino acids one-by-one only had minor effects on the intracellular folate content. Furthermore, supplementing synthetic medium with pABA, folate or nucleotides did not change the intracellular folate content. This work constitutes the first steps towards an optimised process for production of natural folates for fortification purposes, as well as an effort to gain fundamental understanding of folate requirements in yeast in relation to environmental conditions.

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