Metabolic responses of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to valine and ammonium pulses during four-stage continuous wine fermentations.Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013 Apr; 79(8):2749-58.AE
Nitrogen supplementation, which is widely used in winemaking to improve fermentation kinetics, also affects the products of fermentation, including volatile compounds. However, the mechanisms underlying the metabolic response of yeast to nitrogen additions remain unclear. We studied the consequences for Saccharomyces cerevisiae metabolism of valine and ammonium pulses during the stationary phase of four-stage continuous fermentation (FSCF). This culture technique provides cells at steady state similar to that of the stationary phase of batch wine fermentation. Thus, the FSCF device is an appropriate and reliable tool for individual analysis of the metabolic rerouting associated with nutrient additions, in isolation from the continuous evolution of the environment in batch processes. Nitrogen additions, irrespective of the nitrogen-containing compound added, substantially modified the formation of fermentation metabolites, including glycerol, succinate, isoamyl alcohol, propanol, and ethyl esters. This flux redistribution, fulfilling the requirements for precursors of amino acids, was consistent with increased protein synthesis resulting from increased nitrogen availability. Valine pulses, less efficient than ammonium addition in increasing the fermentation rate, were followed by a massive conversion of this amino acid in isobutanol and isobutyl acetate through the Ehrlich pathway. However, additional routes were involved in valine assimilation when added in stationary phase. Overall, we found that particular metabolic changes may be triggered according to the nature of the amino acid supplied, in addition to the common response. Both these shared and specific modifications should be considered when designing strategies to modulate the production of volatile compounds, a current challenge for winemakers.