Summary: The response of 31 ascomycetous yeasts to a reduction in water activity (a) adjusted with D-glucose or NaCl was investigated. The growth of most yeasts was more tolerant to glucose than to NaCl at equivalent a. . Natural abundance C-NMR spectroscopy and HPLC analyses of eight yeasts indicated that glycerol and arabitol or mannitol were accumulated intracellularly in response to a. reduction. and responded to reduced a by a decrease in specific growth rate and cell volume, and an accumulation of glycerol. The other polyol accumulated did not increase in concentration with a reduction to the same degree as glycerol. A polyol concentration ratio (intra/extracellular) as high as 800-fold was attained across the membrane. Greater amounts of polyols were produced at equivalent a values when adjusted with glucose than with NaCl. The ability to accumulate high concentrations of polyols appears to be the most important criterion in determining osmotolerance.


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