Yeast Nutrition

  • Graham G. Stewart
Part of the The Yeast Handbook book series (YEASTHDB)


The major raw materials employed for fermentation by yeast in the production of most beers and many potable and industrial spirits are barley, wheat, corn (maize), rice, sorghum, oats, sugar and its derivatives (from cane and beet). S. cerevisiae strains, including ale brewing and whisky distilling strains, have the ability to take up and ferment a wide range of sugars except melibiose. However, S. pastorianus (lager yeast) is able to utilize this disaccharide. In addition, S. diastaticus (a subspecies of S. cerevisiae) is also able to utilize dextrins (partially hydrolysed starch material). Maltose is the major fermentable sugar in brewer’s and distiller’s wort, and details concerning control of its uptake and subsequent metabolism are critical together with maltotriose. The uptake of sugars from distiller’s (whisky) wort is more complex than from brewer’s wort because it contains active enzymes, particularly amylases and proteinases. As well as fermentable sugars, nitrogen is an essential element for yeast growth and metabolism. Free amino nitrogen (FAN) is the grouping of wort nitrogenous compounds available for consumption by yeast. FAN is the sum of the individual wort amino acids, ammonium ions and small peptides (di-, tripeptides). Wort contains 20 free amino acids, and they are taken up into yeast cells in a set order. This uptake has a direct influence on beer or spirit flavours. The optimization of wort nitrogen content is a complex issue because of the large number of nitrogen compounds in malt.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham G. Stewart
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.International Centre for Brewing and DistillingHeriot Watt UniversityEdinburghUK
  2. 2.GGStewart AssociatesCardiff, WalesUK

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