Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Process Engineering, Biotechnology, Nutrition Technology
Distillers' yeasts, strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, although capable of sexual reproduction, in distillery practice reproduce asexually, by budding. A cell may bring forth another one in 50 min. With every ounce of whiskey produced, 30 billion new cells come to existence. Within a few days, in 4-8 propagation stages, a test tube full of culture will populate 100,000 gallons beer with 150 million cells per ml. Rate of reproduction, the number of new cells per each original cell varies from 5 to 50 in the various propagation stages. The number of new cells produced in a given nutrient is independent from the number of initial cells; and the utilization of the nutrient increases with the dilution of the substrate. Although distillers' yeasts may reproduce at such extremes as 1-46°C, 2½-10½ pH, presence of 0-15% alcohol by volume, and 0.1-25% sugar content, in distillery practice the factors are so selected to maintain conditions close to the optimum. When placed in the nutrient the initial cells will measure the chemical and physical characteristics of the new living space and the cell population, and will prepare a design of reproduction best suited to the conditions. The design includes a symmetry in the grouping of the cells and a rhythmic timing in starting new buds. Each healthy cells is biologically equal to the others and is capable of performing all functions characteristic of the strain. In spite of the sensitive coordination system between the individual cells that regulates their activity, marked differences exist among the cells to the degree of cell individuality. Distillers yeasts are superbly equipped to live and reproduce.
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