Effect of Microbial Interaction on Urea Metabolism in Chinese Liquor Fermentation

Qun Wu*, Jianchun Lin, Kaixiang Cui, Rubin Du, Yang Zhu, Yan Xu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Urea is the primary precursor of the carcinogen ethyl carbamate in fermented foods. Understanding urea metabolism is important for controlling ethyl carbamate production. Using Chinese liquor as a model system, we used metatranscriptome analysis to investigate urea metabolism in spontaneous food fermentation processes. Saccharomyces cerevisiae was dominant in gene transcription for urea biosynthesis and degradation. Lysinibacillus sphaericus was dominant for urea degradation. S. cerevisiae degraded 18% and L. sphaericus degraded 13% of urea in their corresponding single cultures, whereas they degraded 56% of urea in coculture after 12 h. Compared to single cultures, transcription of CAR1, DAL2, and argA, which are related to urea biosynthesis, decreased by 51, 36, and 69% in coculture, respectively. Transcription of DUR1 and ureA, which are related to urea degradation, increased by 227 and 70%, respectively. Thus, coexistence of the two strains promoted degradation of urea via transcriptional regulation of genes related to urea metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11133-11139
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number50
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2017


  • ethanol fermentation
  • ethyl carbamate
  • Lysinibacillus sphaericus
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • spontaneous food fermentation
  • urea


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