The role of acetaldehyde and glycerol in the adaptation to ethanol stress of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and other yeasts

FEMS Yeast Res. 2009 May;9(3):365-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1567-1364.2009.00492.x.


Ethanol inhibition is a commonly encountered stress condition during typical yeast fermentations and often results in reduced fermentation rates and production yields. While past studies have shown that acetaldehyde addition has a significant ameliorating effect on the growth of ethanol-stressed Saccharomyces cerevisiae, this study investigated the potential ameliorating effect of acetaldehyde on a wide range of ethanol-stressed yeasts. Acetaldehyde does not appear to be a universal ameliorating agent for yeasts exposed to ethanol stress. It is also shown that as a result of an ethanol stress, most yeasts rapidly produce glycerol as an alternative means of NAD(+) regeneration rather than having a specific requirement for glycerol. The results strongly suggest that both ethanol and acetaldehyde exposure have a direct effect on the cellular NAD(+)/NADH ratio, which can manifest itself as modulations in glycerol production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetaldehyde / metabolism*
  • Ethanol / metabolism*
  • Glycerol / metabolism*
  • NAD / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / growth & development
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology
  • Stress, Physiological*
  • Yeasts / growth & development
  • Yeasts / metabolism
  • Yeasts / physiology*


  • NAD
  • Ethanol
  • Acetaldehyde
  • Glycerol