There is huge variability among yeasts with regard to their efficiency in utilizing glycerol as the sole source of carbon and energy. Certain species show growth rates with glycerol comparable to those reached with glucose as carbon source; others are virtually unable to utilize glycerol, especially in synthetic medium. Most of our current knowledge regarding glycerol uptake and its catabolic pathways has been gained from studying laboratory strains of the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The growth of these strains on glycerol is dependent on the presence of medium supplements such as amino acids and nucleobases. In contrast, there is only fragmentary knowledge about S. cerevisiae isolates able to grow in synthetic glycerol medium without such supplements as well as about growth of non-Saccharomyces yeast species on glycerol. Thus, more research is required to understand why certain strains and species show superior growth performance on glycerol compared to common S. cerevisiae laboratory strains. This minireview summarizes what is known so far about the gene products and pathways involved in glycerol metabolism and transport in yeast and fungi as well as the regulation of these processes.
Via Francis Martin