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Crit Rev Microbiol. 1986;13(3):219-80.

Ethanol tolerance in yeasts.

Abstract

It is now certain that the inherent ethanol tolerance of the Saccharomyces strain used is not the prime factor regulating the level of ethanol that can be produced in a high sugar brewing, wine, sake, or distillery fermentation. In fact, in terms of the maximum concentration that these yeasts can produce under batch (16 to 17% [v/v]) or fed-batch conditions, there is clearly no difference in ethanol tolerance. This is not to say, however, that under defined conditions there is no difference in ethanol tolerance among different Saccharomyces yeasts. This property, although a genetic determinant, is clearly influenced by many factors (carbohydrate level, wort nutrition, temperature, osmotic pressure/water activity, and substrate concentration), and each yeast strain reacts to each factor differently. This will indeed lead to differences in measured tolerance. Thus, it is extremely important that each of these be taken into consideration when determining "tolerance" for a particular set of fermentation conditions. The manner in which each alcohol-related industry has evolved is now known to have played a major role in determining traditional thinking on ethanol tolerance in Saccharomyces yeasts. It is interesting to speculate on how different our thinking on ethanol tolerance would be today if sake fermentations had not evolved with successive mashing and simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of rice carbohydrate, if distillers' worts were clarified prior to fermentation but brewers' wort were not, and if grape skins with their associated unsaturated lipids had not been an integral part of red wine musts. The time is now ripe for ethanol-related industries to take advantage of these findings to improve the economies of production. In the authors' opinion, breweries could produce higher alcohol beers if oxygenation (leading to unsaturated lipids) and "usable" nitrogen source levels were increased in high gravity worts. White wine fermentations could also, if desired, match the higher ethanol levels in red wines if oxygenation (to provide the unsaturated lipids deleted in part by the removal of the grape skins) were practiced and if care were given to assimilable nitrogen concentrations. This would hold true even at 10 to 14 degrees C, and the more rapid fermentations would maximize utilization of winery tankage.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

PMID:
3533426
DOI:
10.3109/10408418609108739
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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