Named after the English biochemist Herbert Grace Crabtree, the Crabtree effect describes the phenomenon whereby the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, produces ethanol (alcohol) in aerobic conditions and high external glucose concentrations rather than producing biomass via the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, the usual process occurring aerobically in most yeasts e.g. Kluyveromyces spp. Increasing concentrations of glucose accelerates glycolysis (the breakdown of glucose) which results in the production of appreciable amounts of ATP through substrate-level phosphorylation. This reduces the need of oxidative phosphorylation done by the TCA cycle via the electron transport chain and therefore decreases oxygen consumption. The phenomenon is believed to have evolved as a competition mechanism (due to the antiseptic nature of ethanol) around the time when the first fruits on Earth fell from the trees.
- Crabtree HG (1928). "The carbohydrate metabolism of certain pathological overgrowths.". Biochem J. 22 (5): 1289–98. PMC 1252256. PMID 16744142.
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