Yeast flocculation and its biotechnological relevance
Adhesion properties of microorganisms are crucial for many essential biological processes such as sexual reproduction, tissue or substrate invasion, biofilm formation and others. Most, if not all microbial adhesion phenotypes are controlled by factors such as nutrient availability or the presence of pheromones. One particular form of controlled cellular adhesion that occurs in liquid environments is a process of asexual aggregation of cells which is also referred to as flocculation. This process has been the subject of significant scientific and biotechnological interest because of its relevance for many industrial fermentation processes. Specifically adjusted flocculation properties of industrial microorganisms could indeed lead to significant improvements in the processing of biotechnological fermentation products such as foods, biofuels and industrially produced peptides. This review briefly summarises our current scientific knowledge on the regulation of flocculation-related phenotypes, their importance for different biotechnological industries, and possible future applications for microorganisms with improved flocculation properties. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.