Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 5, pp 2101–2116 | Cite as

Anaerobiosis revisited: growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae under extremely low oxygen availability

  • Bruno Labate Vale da Costa
  • Thiago Olitta Basso
  • Vijayendran Raghavendran
  • Andreas Karoly GombertEmail author


The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae plays an important role in biotechnological applications, ranging from fuel ethanol to recombinant protein production. It is also a model organism for studies on cell physiology and genetic regulation. Its ability to grow under anaerobic conditions is of interest in many industrial applications. Unlike industrial bioreactors with their low surface area relative to volume, ensuring a complete anaerobic atmosphere during microbial cultivations in the laboratory is rather difficult. Tiny amounts of O2 that enter the system can vastly influence product yields and microbial physiology. A common procedure in the laboratory is to sparge the culture vessel with ultrapure N2 gas; together with the use of butyl rubber stoppers and norprene tubing, O2 diffusion into the system can be strongly minimized. With insights from some studies conducted in our laboratory, we explore the question ‘how anaerobic is anaerobiosis?’. We briefly discuss the role of O2 in non-respiratory pathways in S. cerevisiae and provide a systematic survey of the attempts made thus far to cultivate yeast under anaerobic conditions. We conclude that very few data exist on the physiology of S. cerevisiae under anaerobiosis in the absence of the anaerobic growth factors ergosterol and unsaturated fatty acids. Anaerobicity should be treated as a relative condition since complete anaerobiosis is hardly achievable in the laboratory. Ideally, researchers should provide all the details of their anaerobic set-up, to ensure reproducibility of results among different laboratories.


Anaerobiosis Oxygen Saccharomyces cerevisiae Chemostat cultivation Anaerobic growth factors 


Funding information

This study was funded by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, São Paulo, Brazil), through grant number 2015/14109-0, and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES, Brasília, Brazil) through a PNPD grant to VR and a Ph.D. scholarship to BLVC. The authors would like to thank the faculty and the staff from the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of São Paulo, for allowing us to use their infra-structure and equipment for the experimental work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruno Labate Vale da Costa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thiago Olitta Basso
    • 2
  • Vijayendran Raghavendran
    • 1
    • 3
  • Andreas Karoly Gombert
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Food EngineeringUniversity of CampinasCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of Sao PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Biology and Biological EngineeringChalmers University of TechnologyGöteborgSweden

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