Gutiérrez A, Beltran G, Warringer J, Guillamón JM
PLoS ONE. 2013;8(6):e67166
The capacity of wine yeast to utilize the nitrogen available in grape must directly correlates with the fermentation and growth rates of all wine yeastfermentation stages and is, thus, of critical importance for wine production. Here we precisely quantified the ability of low complexity nitrogencompounds to support fast, efficient and rapidly initiated growth of four commercially important wine strains. Nitrogen substrate abundance in grape must failed to correlate with the rate or the efficiency of nitrogen source utilization, but well predicted lag phase length. Thus, human domestication of yeast for grape must growth has had, at the most, a marginal impact on wine yeast growth rates and efficiencies, but may have left a surprising imprint on the time required to adjust metabolism from non growth to growth. Wine yeast nitrogen source utilization deviated from that of the lab strain experimentation, but also varied between wine strains. Each wine yeast lineage harbored nitrogen source utilization defects that were private to that strain. By a massive hemizygote analysis, we traced the genetic basis of the most glaring of these defects, near inability of the PDM wine strain to utilize methionine, as consequence of mutations in its ARO8, ADE5,7 and VBA3 alleles. We also identified candidate causative mutations in these genes. The methionine defect of PDM is potentially very interesting as the strain can, in some circumstances, overproduce foul tasting H2S, a trait which likely stems from insufficient methionine catabolization. The poor adaptation of wine yeast to the grape must nitrogen environment, and the presence of defects in each lineage, open up wine strain optimization through biotechnological endeavors.