Yeast Viability and Vitality

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


Despite the frequent use of the terms yeast viability and yeast vitality in both the brewing and distilling literature, the application of these terms is often confused. There are a number of analyses to show that yeast is alive; the relationships between a cell’s environment and the methods employed for its cultivation are complex! These methods include the ability of cells to grow on solid or in liquid media and strain-based systems; some are based on changes in the charges and functionality of the cell membrane, and others are dyes that penetrate into live and/or dead cells. The methods for assessing cell viability only provide information on live and dead cells in a whole population. Methods for yeast vitality determination are based on various physiological and metabolic aspects of cells. These methods include:
  • Intracellular ATP content based on the luciferin reaction

  • Determination of mitochondrial membrane potential

  • Acidification power test following the addition of glucose

  • Magnesium release test based on the fact that low molecular weight ions such as magnesium and others are released by yeast following addition of glucose to the medium

  • Determination of the activity of enzymes such as esterase, oxidoreductases or several different redox enzymes

Recent studies have aimed to develop a clear classification to develop methods for the analysis of both the viability and vitality of yeast.


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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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