A comparative study was made of the in vitro respiratory capacity of mitochondria isolated from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida utilis grown in glucose-limited chemostat cultures. An electron-microscopic analysis of whole cells revealed that the volume density of mitochondria was the same in both yeasts. Mitochondria from both organisms exhibited respiratory control with NADH, pyruvate + malate, 2-oxoglutarate + acetate or malate, and ethanol. The rate of oxidation of these compounds by isolated mitochondria was the same in both yeasts. The rate of oxidation of NADPH by mitochondria from S. cerevisiae was 10 times lower than by those from C. utilis. However, this low rate probably has no influence on the overall in vivo respiratory capacity of S. cerevisiae. The results are discussed in relation to the differences in metabolic behaviour between S. cerevisiae and C. utilis upon transition of cultures from glucose limitation to glucose excess. It is concluded that the occurrence of alcoholic fermentation in S. cerevisiae under these conditions does not result from a bottleneck in the respiratory capacity of the mitochondria.
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