Metabolic flux analysis during the exponential growth phase of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in wine fermentations

PLoS One. 2013 Aug 13;8(8):e71909. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071909. eCollection 2013.


As a consequence of the increase in global average temperature, grapes with the adequate phenolic and aromatic maturity tend to be overripe by the time of harvest, resulting in increased sugar concentrations and imbalanced C/N ratios in fermenting musts. This fact sets obvious additional hurdles in the challenge of obtaining wines with reduced alcohols levels, a new trend in consumer demands. It would therefore be interesting to understand Saccharomyces cerevisiae physiology during the fermentation of must with these altered characteristics. The present study aims to determine the distribution of metabolic fluxes during the yeast exponential growth phase, when both carbon and nitrogen sources are in excess, using continuous cultures. Two different sugar concentrations were studied under two different winemaking temperature conditions. Although consumption and production rates for key metabolites were severely affected by the different experimental conditions studied, the general distribution of fluxes in central carbon metabolism was basically conserved in all cases. It was also observed that temperature and sugar concentration exerted a higher effect on the pentose phosphate pathway and glycerol formation than on glycolysis and ethanol production. Additionally, nitrogen uptake, both quantitatively and qualitatively, was strongly influenced by environmental conditions. This work provides the most complete stoichiometric model used for Metabolic Flux Analysis of S. cerevisiae in wine fermentations employed so far, including the synthesis and release of relevant aroma compounds and could be used in the design of optimal nitrogen supplementation of wine fermentations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Bioreactors
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Fermentation*
  • Metabolic Flux Analysis*
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / growth & development*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Wine*


  • Nitrogen

Grant support

This work was funded by the CDTI (Spanish Center for Technological Industrial Development) through the Ingenio 2010-CENIT Program and project AGL 2009-07327 of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. M.Q. and R.M.-M. are recipients of a CSIC training JAE-Doc contract and a CSIC JAE-pre grant respectively, both co-funded by the European Social Fund of the EU. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.