Trehalose metabolism in yeast has been related to stress and could be used as a stress indicator. Winemaking conditions are stressful for yeast and understanding trehalose metabolism under these conditions could be useful for controlling alcoholic fermentation. In this study, we analysed trehalose metabolism of a commercial wine yeast strain during alcoholic fermentation by varying the nitrogen levels from low (below adequate) to high (excess). We determined trehalose, nitrogen, sugar consumption and expression of NTH1, NTH2 and TPS1. Our results show that trehalose metabolism is slightly affected by nitrogen availability and that the main consumption of nitrogen occurs in the first 24 h. After this period, nitrogen is hardly taken up by the yeast cells. Although nitrogen and sugar are still available, no further growth is observed in high concentrations of nitrogen. Increased expression of genes involved in trehalose metabolism occurs mainly at the end of the growth period. This could be related to an adaptive mechanism for fine tuning of glycolysis during alcoholic tumultuous fermentation, as both anabolic and catabolic pathways are affected by such expression.
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