The effect of Ca(2+) on alcoholic fermentation and plasma membrane H(+)-ATPase activity of wine yeast under enological conditions were investigated in this study. The results showed that fermentation rate, cell growth and ethanol production were improved by 0.5 and 1.5 mM Ca(2+) supplementation, which correlated well with the increment of ATPase activity and protein levels. Considering the important role of ATPase in the tolerance of yeast to ethanol, the improvement could be, at least partially, attributed to the increment of ATPase activity. No activation of ATPase by Ca(2+) was observed in the early phase of fermentation and the increment of activity was only observed when ethanol concentration exceeded 6.5%. Therefore, the enhancement of ATPase activity by Ca(2+) was ascribed to alleviating the inhibition of ATPase activity by ethanol through protection of membrane structure. Our results suggest that, besides maintenance of cell membrane structure, the increment of plasma membrane ATPase activity was also responsible for the improvement of alcoholic fermentation by Ca(2+) supplementation.
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