Volatile Esters

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Isoamyl Acetate

The ATF1-encoded Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast alcohol acetyl transferase I is responsible for the formation of several different volatile acetate esters during fermentation. A number of these volatile esters, e.g. ethyl acetate and isoamyl acetate, are among the most important aroma compounds in fermented beverages such as beer and wine. Manipulation of the expression levels of ATF1 in brewing yeast strains has a significant effect on the ester profile of beer. Northern blot analysis of ATF1 and its closely related homologue, Lg-ATF1, showed that these genes were rapidly induced by the addition of glucose to anaerobically grown carbon-starved cells. This induction was abolished in a protein kinase A (PKA)-attenuated strain, while a PKA-overactive strain showed stronger ATF1 expression, indicating that the Ras/cAMP/PKA signalling pathway is involved in this glucose induction. Furthermore, nitrogen was needed in the growth medium in order to maintain ATF1 expression. Long-term activation of ATF1 could also be obtained by the addition of the non-metabolisable amino acid homologue beta-L-alanine, showing that the effect of the nitrogen source did not depend on its metabolism. In addition to nutrient regulation, ATF1 and Lg-ATF1 expression levels were also affected by heat and ethanol stress. These findings help in the understanding of the effect of medium composition on volatile ester synthesis in industrial fermentations. In addition, the complex regulation provides new insights into the physiological role of Atf1p in yeast.