Laboratory of Cell Biology, Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia.
Anhydrobiosis is a unique state of living organisms when metabolism is temporarily and reversibly delayed in response to the extreme desiccation of cells. The production of dry active preparations of yeast grown under anaerobic conditions is not currently possible because preparations are extremely sensitive to the dehydration procedure, though they could be very helpful in different biotechnological processes, including bioethanol production. To characterize mechanisms responsible for such sensitivity to the dehydration procedure, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used to study the composition of aerobically grown yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae resistant to dehydration and grown under conditions of severe oxygen limitation and sensitive to dehydration. Results indicated that significantly lower amounts of lipids in cells, grown under conditions of severe oxygen limitation, may be related to the mechanisms of sensitivity. Dehydration of both resistant and sensitive S. cerevisiae cells was accompanied by similar changes in main cellular compounds. Amounts of nucleic acids and proteins decreased slightly, whereas that of lipids and carbohydrates increased. Artificially reduced sensitivity to dehydration in S. cerevisiae cells, grown under conditions of severe oxygen limitation, led to the increase in the lipid concentration. The chemical composition of S. cerevisiae membranes is proposed to dictate the resistance to dehydration in resistant and sensitive cells.
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