Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a yeast of great importance in many industries and it has been frequently used to produce food products and beverages. More recently, other uses have also been described for this microorganism, such as the production of bioethanol, as a clean, renewable and sustainable alternative fuel. High pressure processing (HPP) is a technology that has attracted a lot of interest and is increasingly being used in the food industry as a non-thermal method of food processing. However, other applications of high pressure (HP) are being studied with this technology in different areas, for example, for fermentation processes, because microbial cells can resist to pressure sub-lethal levels, due to the development of different adaptation mechanisms. The present work intended to study the adaptation of S. cerevisiae to high pressure, using consecutive cycles of fermentation under pressure (at sub-lethal levels), in an attempt to enhance the production of bioethanol. In this context, three pressure levels (15, 25 and 35 MPa) were tested, with each of them showing different effects on S. cerevisiae fermentation behavior. After each cycle at 15 and 25 MPa, both cell growth and ethanol production showed a tendency to increase, suggesting the adaptation of S. cerevisiae to these pressure levels. In fact, at the end of the 4th cycle, the ethanol production was higher under pressure than at atmospheric pressure (0.1 MPa) (8.75 g.L−1 and 10.69 g.L−1 at 15 and 25 MPa, respectively, compared to 8.02 g.L−1 at atmospheric pressure). However, when the pressure was increased to 35 MPa, cell growth and bioethanol production decreased, with minimal production after the 4 consecutive fermentation cycles. In general, the results of this work suggest that consecutive cycles of fermentation under sub-lethal pressure conditions (15 and 25 MPa) can stimulate adaptation to pressure and improve the bioethanol production capacity by S. cerevisiae; hence, this technology can be used to increase rates, yields and productivities of alcoholic fermentation.
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae