Hyperosmotic Stress and the Impact on Metabolite Formation and Redox Balance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces bayanus strains
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Wine produced using an appassimento-type process represents a new and exciting innovation for the Ontario wine industry. This process involves drying grapes that have already been picked from the vine, which increases the sugar content due to dehydration and induces a variety of changes both within and on the surface of the grapes. Increasing sugar contents in musts subject wine yeast to conditions of high osmolarity during alcoholic fermentations. Under these conditions, yeast growth can be inhibited, target alcohol levels may not be attained and metabolic by-products of the hyperosmotic stress response, including glycerol and acetic acid, may impact wine composition. The further metabolism of acetic acid to acetylCoA by yeast facilitates the synthesis of ethyl acetate, a volatile compound that can also impact wine quality if present in sufficiently high concentrations. The first objective of this project was to understand the effect of yeast strain and sugar concentration on fermentation kinetics and metabolite formation, notably acetic acid and ethyl acetate, during fermentation in appassimento-type must. Our working hypotheses were that (1) the natural isolate Saccharomyces bayanus would produce less acetic acid and ethyl acetate compared to Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain EC-1118 fermenting the high and low sugar juices; (2) the wine produced using the appassimento process would contain higher levels of acetic acid and lower levels of ethyl acetate compared to table wine; (3) and the strains would be similar in the kinetic behavior of their fermentation performances in the high sugar must. This study determined that the S. bayanus strain produced significantly less acetic acid and ethyl acetate in the appassimento wine and table wine fermentations. Differences in acetic acid and ethyl acetate production were also observed within strains fermenting the two sugar conditions. Acetic acid production was higher in table wine fermented by S. bayanus as no acetic acid was produced in appassimento-style wine, and 1.4-times higher in appassimento wine fermented by EC-1118 over that found in table wine. Ethyl acetate production was 27.6-times higher in table wine fermented by S. bayanus, and 5.2-times higher by EC-1118, compared to that in appassimento wine. Sugar utilization and ethanol production were comparable between strains as no significant differences were determined. The second objective of this project was to bring a method in-house for measuring the concentration of pyridine nucleotides, NAD+, NADP+, NADH and NADPH, in yeast cytosolic extract. Development of this method is of applicative interest for our lab group as it will enable the redox balance of the NAD+/ NADH and NADP+/ NADPH systems to be assessed during high sugar fermentations to determine their respective roles as metabolic triggers for acetic acid production. Two methods were evaluated in this study including a UV-endpoint method using a set of enzymatic assay protocols outlined in Bergmeyer (1974) and a colorimetric enzyme cycling method developed by Sigma-Aldrich® using commercial kits. The former was determined to be limited by its low sensitivity following application to yeast extract and subsequent coenzyme analyses, while the latter was shown to exhibit greater sensitivity. The results obtained from the kits indicated high linearity, accuracy and precision of the analytical method for measuring NADH and NADPH, and that it was sensitive enough to measure the low coenzyme concentrations present in yeast extract samples. NADtotal and NADPtotal concentrations were determined to be above the lower limit of quantification and within the range of the respective calibration curves, making this method suitable for our research purposes.