Adaptive evolution of the lager brewing yeast Saccharomyces pastorianus for improved growth under hyperosmotic conditions and its influence on fermentation performance

Jukka Ekberg, J. Rautio, L. Mattinen, Virve Vidgren, J. Londesborough, Brian Gibson (Corresponding Author)

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    47 Citations (Scopus)


    An adaptive evolution method to obtain stable Saccharomyces pastorianus brewing yeast variants with improved fermentation capacity is described. The procedure involved selection for rapid growth resumption at high osmotic strength. It was applied to a lager strain and to a previously isolated ethanol-tolerant strain. Fermentation performance of strains was compared at 15 °P wort strength. A selected osmotolerant variant of the ethanol-tolerant strain showed significantly shorter fermentation time than the parent strain, producing 6.45% alcohol by volume beer in 4–5 days with mostly similar organoleptic properties to the original strain. Diacetyl and pentanedione contents were 50–75% and 3-methylbutyl acetate and 2-phenylethyl acetate 50% higher than with the original strain, leading to a small flavour change. The variant contained significantly less intracellular trehalose and glycogen than the parent. Transcriptional analysis of selected genes at 24 h revealed reduced transcription of hexose transport genes and increased transcription of the MALx1 and MALx2 genes, responsible for α-glucoside uptake and metabolism. It is suggested that an attenuated stress response contributes to the improved fermentation performance. Results show that sequential selection for both ethanol tolerance and rapid growth at high osmotic strength can provide strains with enhanced fermentation speed with acceptable product quality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)335-349
    Number of pages15
    JournalFEMS Yeast Research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • saccharomyces pastorianus
    • osmotic stress
    • ethanol tolerance
    • directed evolution
    • gene expression profiling


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