The impact of single amino acids on growth and volatile aroma production by Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains

Samantha Fairbairn, Alexander McKinnon, Hannibal T. Musarurwa, António C. Ferreira, Florian F. Bauer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrogen availability and utilization by Saccharomyces cerevisiae significantly influence fermentation kinetics and the production of volatile compounds important for wine aroma. Amino acids are the most important nitrogen source and have been classified based on how well they support growth. This study evaluated the effect of single amino acids on growth kinetics and major volatile production of two phenotypically different commercial wine yeast strains in synthetic grape must. Four growth parameters, lag phase, maximum growth rate, total biomass formation and time to complete fermentation were evaluated. In contrast with previous findings, in fermentative conditions, phenylalanine and valine supported growth well and asparagine supported it poorly. The four parameters showed good correlations for most amino acid treatments, with some notable exceptions. Single amino acid treatments resulted in the predictable production of aromatic compounds, with a linear correlation between amino acid concentration and the concentration of aromatic compounds that are directly derived from these amino acids. With the increased complexity of nitrogen sources, linear correlations were lost and aroma production became unpredictable. However, even in complex medium minor changes in amino acid concentration continued to directly impact the formation of aromatic compounds, suggesting that the relative concentration of individual amino acids remains a predictor of aromatic outputs, independently of the complexity of metabolic interactions between carbon and nitrogen metabolism and between amino acid degradation and utilization pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2554
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2017


  • Amino acids
  • Growth kinetics
  • Nitrogen
  • Wine aroma
  • Wine yeast


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