Isolation of sulfite reductase variants of a commercial wine yeast with significantly reduced hydrogen sulfide production

FEMS Yeast Res. 2009 May;9(3):446-59. doi: 10.1111/j.1567-1364.2009.00489.x. Epub 2009 Feb 19.


The production of hydrogen sulfide (H(2)S) during fermentation is a common and significant problem in the global wine industry as it imparts undesirable off-flavors at low concentrations. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae plays a crucial role in the production of volatile sulfur compounds in wine. In this respect, H(2)S is a necessary intermediate in the assimilation of sulfur by yeast through the sulfate reduction sequence with the key enzyme being sulfite reductase. In this study, we used a classical mutagenesis method to develop and isolate a series of strains, derived from a commercial diploid wine yeast (PDM), which showed a drastic reduction in H(2)S production in both synthetic and grape juice fermentations. Specific mutations in the MET10 and MET5 genes, which encode the catalytic alpha- and beta-subunits of the sulfite reductase enzyme, respectively, were identified in six of the isolated strains. Fermentations with these strains indicated that, in comparison with the parent strain, H(2)S production was reduced by 50-99%, depending on the strain. Further analysis of the wines made with the selected strains indicated that basic chemical parameters were similar to the parent strain except for total sulfite production, which was much higher in some of the mutant strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution / genetics
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA, Fungal / chemistry
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on Sulfur Group Donors / genetics
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on Sulfur Group Donors / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sulfite Reductase (NADPH) / genetics
  • Sulfite Reductase (NADPH) / metabolism
  • Wine / analysis
  • Wine / microbiology*


  • DNA, Fungal
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on Sulfur Group Donors
  • Sulfite Reductase (NADPH)
  • sulfite reductase (NADPH), S cerevisiae
  • Hydrogen Sulfide

Associated data

  • GENBANK/EU871588
  • GENBANK/EU871589
  • GENBANK/EU871590
  • GENBANK/EU871591