Controlling the membrane fluidity of yeasts during coupled thermal and osmotic treatments

Abstract : Yeasts are often exposed to variations in osmotic pressure in their natural environments or in their substrates when used in fermentation industries. Such changes may lead to cell death or activity loss. Previous work by our team has allowed us to relate the mortality of cells exposed to a combination of thermal and osmotic treatments to leakage of cellular components through an unstable membrane when lipid phase transition occurs. In this study, yeast viability was measured after numerous osmotic and thermal treatments. In addition, the fluidity of yeast membranes was assessed according to aw and temperature by means of 1,6‐diphenyl‐1,3,5‐hexatriene (DPH) anisotropy measurement. The results show that there is a negative correlation between the overall fluidity variation undergone by membranes during treatments and yeast survival. Using a diagram of membrane fluidity according to aw and temperature, we defined dehydration and rehydration methods that minimize fluidity fluctuations, permitting significantly increased yeast survival. Thus, such membrane fluidity diagram should be a potential tool for controlling membrane state during dehydration and rehydration and improve yeast survival. Overall fluidity measurements should now be completed by accurate structural analysis of membranes to better understand the plasma membrane changes occurring during dehydration and rehydration.
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Hélène Simonin, Laurent Beney, Patrick Gervais. Controlling the membrane fluidity of yeasts during coupled thermal and osmotic treatments. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Wiley, 2008, 100 (2), pp.325-333. ⟨10.1002/bit.21749⟩. ⟨hal-02292207⟩

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