Real-Time Monitoring of the Yeast Intracellular State During Bioprocesses With a Toolbox of Biosensors
Journal article, 2022

Industrial fermentation processes strive for high robustness to ensure optimal and consistent performance. Medium components, fermentation products, and physical perturbations may cause stress and lower performance. Cellular stress elicits a range of responses, whose extracellular manifestations have been extensively studied; whereas intracellular aspects remain poorly known due to lack of tools for real-time monitoring. Genetically encoded biosensors have emerged as promising tools and have been used to improve microbial productivity and tolerance toward industrially relevant stresses. Here, fluorescent biosensors able to sense the yeast intracellular environment (pH, ATP levels, oxidative stress, glycolytic flux, and ribosome production) were implemented into a versatile and easy-to-use toolbox. Marker-free and efficient genome integration at a conserved site on chromosome X of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains and a commercial Saccharomyces boulardii strain was developed. Moreover, multiple biosensors were used to simultaneously monitor different intracellular parameters in a single cell. Even when combined together, the biosensors did not significantly affect key physiological parameters, such as specific growth rate and product yields. Activation and response of each biosensor and their interconnection were assessed using an advanced micro-cultivation system. Finally, the toolbox was used to screen cell behavior in a synthetic lignocellulosic hydrolysate that mimicked harsh industrial substrates, revealing differences in the oxidative stress response between laboratory (CEN.PK113-7D) and industrial (Ethanol Red) S. cerevisiae strains. In summary, the toolbox will allow both the exploration of yeast diversity and physiological responses in natural and complex industrial conditions, as well as the possibility to monitor production processes.

intracellular pH (pHi)

oxidative stress

glycolytic flux


ribosome production

ATP concentration



Luca Torello Pianale

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

Peter Rugbjerg

Enduro Genetics ApS

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

Lisbeth Olsson

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

Frontiers in Microbiology

1664-302X (ISSN)

Vol. 12 802169

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Bioprocess Technology






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2/1/2022 9