The utilization of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains overproducing glycerol and with a reduced ethanol yield is a potentially valuable strategy for producing wine with decreased ethanol content. However, glycerol overproduction is accompanied by acetate accumulation. In this study, we evaluated the effects of the overexpression of GPD1, coding for glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, in three commercial wine yeast strains in which the two copies of ALD6 encoding the NADP(+)-dependent Mg(2+)-activated cytosolic acetaldehyde dehydrogenase have been deleted. Under wine fermentation conditions, the engineered industrial strains exhibit fermentation performance and growth properties similar to those of the wild type. Acetate was produced at concentrations similar to that of the wild-type strains, whereas sugar was efficiently diverted to glycerol. The ethanol yield of the GPD1 ald6 industrial strains was 15 to 20% lower than that in the controls. However, these strains accumulated acetoin at considerable levels due to inefficient reduction to 2,3-butanediol. Due to the low taste and odor thresholds of acetoin and its negative sensorial impact on wine, novel engineering strategies will be required for a proper adjustment of the metabolites at the acetaldehyde branch point.
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