Yeasts are very important microorganisms for food production. The high fermentative capacity, mainly of the species of the genus Saccharomyces
, is a key factor for their biotechnological use, particularly to produce alcoholic beverages. As viability and vitality are essential to ensure their correct performance in industry, this review addresses the main aspects related to the cellular aging of these fungi as their senescence impacts their proper functioning. Laboratory strains of S. cerevisiae
have proven a very successful model for elucidating the molecular mechanisms that control life span. Those mechanisms are shared by all eukaryotic cells. S. cerevisiae
has two models of aging, replicative and chronological. Replicative life span is measured by the number of daughter cells a mother can produce. This kind of aging is relevant when the yeast biomass is reused, as in the case of beer fermentations. Chronological life span is measured by the time cells are viable in the stationary phase, and this is relevant for batch fermentations when cells are most of the time in a non-dividing state, such as wine fermentations. The molecular causes and pathways regulating both types of aging are explained in this review.
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