Nitrogen limitation is one of the most common causes for stuck or sluggish fermentation. A broad range of values have been reported as the minimum nitrogen concentration necessary for the completion of alcoholic fermentation. We have analyzed the minimum nitrogen concentration required to yield the maximum biomass (nitrogen reference value) using a microwell plate reader to monitor fermentation with different nitrogen sources and sugar concentrations. The biomass yield was dependent on the amount of available nitrogen, the nature of nitrogen source, and the sugar concentration in the medium. Nevertheless, achieving the maximum biomass was not sufficient to ensure the completion of the alcoholic fermentation, because the fermentation of 280 g sugar L(-1) stuck, regardless of the nature and concentration of nitrogen source. However, a mixture of five amino acids (Leu, Ile, Val, Phe and Thr) as the nitrogen source allowed for maximum sugar consumption. Analysis of cell vitality by impedance showed a significant improvement in the vitality for cells fermenting using this amino acid combination.
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