Nitrate boosts anaerobic ethanol production in an acetate-dependent manner in the yeast Dekkera bruxellensis

  • Irina Charlot Peña-Moreno
  • Denise Castro Parente
  • Jackeline Maria da Silva
  • Allyson Andrade Mendonça
  • Lino Angel Valcarcel Rojas
  • Marcos Antonio de Morais Junior
  • Will de Barros PitaEmail author
Genetics and Molecular Biology of Industrial Organisms - Original Paper


In the past few years, the yeast Dekkera bruxellensis has gained much of attention among the so-called non-conventional yeasts for its potential in the biotechnological scenario, especially in fermentative processes. This yeast has been regarded as an important competitor to Saccharomyces cerevisiae in bioethanol production plants in Brazil and several studies have reported its capacity to produce ethanol. However, our current knowledge concerning D. bruxellensis is restricted to its aerobic metabolism, most likely because wine and beer strains cannot grow in full anaerobiosis. Hence, the present work aimed to fulfil a gap regarding the lack of information on the physiology of Dekkera bruxellensis growing in the complete absence of oxygen and the relationship with assimilation of nitrate as nitrogen source. The ethanol strain GDB 248 was fully capable of growing anaerobically and produces ethanol at the same level of S. cerevisiae. The presence of nitrate in the medium increased this capacity. Moreover, nitrate is consumed faster than ammonium and this increased rate coincided with a higher speed of glucose consumption. The profile of gene expression helped us to figure out that even in anaerobiosis, the presence of nitrate drives the yeast cells to an oxidative metabolism that ultimately incremented both biomass and ethanol production. These results finally provide the clues to explain most of the success of this yeast in industrial processes of ethanol production.


Ethanol Acetate metabolism Anaerobic growth Energetic demand Nitrogen catabolite repression 



This work was sponsored by grants of the National Council of Science and Technology (CNPq no. 446927/2014-7 and 474847/2013-6).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irina Charlot Peña-Moreno
    • 1
  • Denise Castro Parente
    • 1
  • Jackeline Maria da Silva
    • 1
  • Allyson Andrade Mendonça
    • 1
  • Lino Angel Valcarcel Rojas
    • 3
  • Marcos Antonio de Morais Junior
    • 1
  • Will de Barros Pita
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsFederal University of PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  2. 2.Department of AntibioticsFederal University of PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Nuclear EnergyFederal University of PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de Antibióticos, Universidade Federal de PernambucoRecifeBrazil

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