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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Sep;75(17):5607-14. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00429-09. Epub 2009 Jul 10.

Quantitative physiology of Saccharomyces cerevisiae at near-zero specific growth rates.

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Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation, Julianalaan 67, 2628 BC Delft, The Netherlands.

Erratum in

  • Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Dec;75(23):7578.


Growth at near-zero specific growth rates is a largely unexplored area of yeast physiology. To investigate the physiology of Saccharomyces cerevisiae under these conditions, the effluent removal pipe of anaerobic, glucose-limited chemostat culture (dilution rate, 0.025 h(-1)) was fitted with a 0.22-microm-pore-size polypropylene filter unit. This setup enabled prolonged cultivation with complete cell retention. After 22 days of cultivation, specific growth rates had decreased below 0.001 h(-1) (doubling time of >700 h). Over this period, viability of the retentostat cultures decreased to ca. 80%. The viable biomass concentration in the retentostats could be accurately predicted by a maintenance coefficient of 0.50 mmol of glucose g(-1) of biomass h(-1) calculated from anaerobic, glucose-limited chemostat cultures grown at dilution rates of 0.025 to 0.20 h(-1). This indicated that, in contrast to the situation in several prokaryotes, maintenance energy requirements in S. cerevisiae do not substantially change at near-zero specific growth rates. After 22 days of retentostat cultivation, glucose metabolism was predominantly geared toward alcoholic fermentation to meet maintenance energy requirements. The strict correlation between glycerol production and biomass formation observed at higher specific growth rates was not maintained at the near-zero growth rates reached in the retentostat cultures. In addition to glycerol, the organic acids acetate, d-lactate, and succinate were produced at low rates during prolonged retentostat cultivation. This study identifies robustness and by-product formation as key issues in attempts to uncouple growth and product formation in S. cerevisiae.

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