Oxygen requirements of yeasts

Appl Environ Microbiol. 1990 Dec;56(12):3785-92. doi: 10.1128/aem.56.12.3785-3792.1990.


Type species of 75 yeast genera were examined for their ability to grow anaerobically in complex and mineral media. To define anaerobic conditions, we added a redox indicator, resazurin, to the media to determine low redox potentials. All strains tested were capable of fermenting glucose to ethanol in oxygen-limited shake-flask cultures, even those of species generally regarded as nonfermentative. However, only 23% of the yeast species tested grew under anaerobic conditions. A comparative study with a number of selected strains revealed that Saccharomyces cerevisiae stands out as a yeast capable of rapid growth at low redox potentials. Other yeasts, such as Torulaspora delbrueckii and Candida tropicalis, grew poorly mu max, 0.03 and 0.05 h-1, respectively) under anaerobic conditions in mineral medium supplemented with Tween 80 and ergosterol. The latter organisms grew rapidly under oxygen limitation and then displayed a high rate of alcoholic fermentation. It can be concluded that these yeasts have hitherto-unidentified oxygen requirements for growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Ethanol / metabolism
  • Fermentation
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Oxazines
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Xanthenes*
  • Yeasts / growth & development
  • Yeasts / metabolism*
  • Yeasts / ultrastructure


  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Oxazines
  • Xanthenes
  • resazurin
  • Ethanol
  • Oxygen