Genetic engineering of a sake yeast producing no urea by successive disruption of arginase gene

K. Kitamoto, K. Oda, K. Gomi, K. Takahashi

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Urea is reported to be a main precursor of ethyl carbamate (ECA), which is suspected to be a carcinogen, in wine and sake. In order to minimize production of urea, arginase-deficient mutants (Δcar1/Δcar1) were constructed from a diploid sake yeast, Kyokai no. 9, by successive disruption of the two copies of the CAR1 gene. First, the yeast strain was transformed with plasmid pCAT2 (Δcar1 SMR1), and strains heterozygous for CAR1 gene were isolated on sulfometuron methyl plates. Successively, the other CAR1 gene was disrupted by transformation with plasmid pCAT1 (Δcar1 G418(r)) and the resulting car1 mutants were isolated on a G418 plate. Arginase assay of the total cell lysate of the mutants showed that 70% of transformants isolated on G418 plates had no detectable enzyme activity, possibly as a result of the disruption of the two copies of the CAR1 gene. Further genomic Southern analysis confirmed this result. We could brew sake containing no urea with the Δcar1/Δcar1 homozygous mutant. It is of additional interest that no ECA was detected in the resulting sake, even after storage for 5 months at 30°C. This molecular biological study suggests that ECA in sake originates mainly from urea that is produced by the arginase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-306
Number of pages6
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991

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