Journal of the institute of brewing vol:109 issue:3 pages:262-272
Most breweries collect yeast from a previous fermentation cycle for further use in a subsequent cycle. However, the cropped cells are deficient in membrane sterols and unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) which are required for good fermentation performance in the next cycle. Consequently, the cellular levels of these compounds must be restored to obtain an optimal fermentation performance. There are currently three possibilities to satisfy this requirement. The common practice is aeration of the wort before pitching, thus providing oxygen needed for lipid synthesis during the first stages of fermentation. Oxygenation (aeration) of cropped yeast slurries is a second alternative. Finally, the addition of the required lipids to wort is sometimes suggested as an alternative to aeration. We examined a fourth possibility, namely the supplementation with UFA of cropped cells. Previously, we reported that the supplementation of stationary phase cropped brewer's yeast with linoleic acid is a good alternative to wort aeration. This conclusion resulted from results obtained with a well-defined stir-red synthetic fermentation medium. We also showed that cells cropped from non-stirred tall-tube fermented malt wort incorporated linoleic acid into different cellular lipid fractions, when suspended and supplemented in fermented wort. Now, we report that such yeast, pitched in malt wort in non-stirred tall-tubes, showed growth and attenuation profiles comparable to unsupplemented yeast in pre-aerated wort. Moreover, the synthesis of acetate esters, which is known to be affected when UFAs are added directly to the wort, was not significantly affected. We hypothesize that the active uptake of linoleic acid during fermentation and its activation by coenzyme A (CoA) and phospholipid synthesis are responsible for the effects on ester synthesis, through repression of the alcohol acetyltransferase-encoding gene, ATF1. In supplemented cropped yeast, these reactions occur prior to fermentation, thus avoiding interferences with acetate ester synthesis. In serial repitching experiments with repeated linoleic acid supplementation of the cropped yeast, the fermentation performances of the yeast remained comparable to those of non-supplemented yeast in pre-aerated wort. However, due to a progressive increase of cellular UFA, negative effects on acetate ester synthesis appeared. Nevertheless, the supplementation of cropped yeast with UFAs can be considered as an interesting alternative to wort oxygenation to restore optimal membrane functions.