• yeast;
  • biomechanics;
  • micromanipulation;
  • elastic modulus;
  • initial stretch ratio


The intrinsic cell wall mechanical properties of Baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) cells were determined. Force–deformation data from compression of individual cells up to failure were recorded, and these data were fitted by an analytical model to extract the elastic modulus of the cell wall and the initial stretch ratio of the cell. The cell wall was assumed to be homogeneous, isotropic, and incompressible. A linear elastic constitutive equation was assumed based on Hencky strains to accommodate the large stretches of the cell wall. Because of the high compression speed, water loss during compression could be assumed to be negligible. It was then possible to treat the initial stretch ratio and elastic modulus as adjustable parameters within the analytical model. As the experimental data fitted numerical simulations well up to the point of cell rupture, it was also possible to extract cell wall failure criteria. The mean cell wall properties for resuspended dried Baker's yeast were as follows: elastic modulus 185 ± 15 MPa, initial stretch ratio 1.039 ± 0.006, circumferential stress at failure 115 ± 5 MPa, circumferential strain at failure 0.46 ± 0.03, and strain energy per unit volume at failure 30 ± 3 MPa. Data on yeast cells obtained by this method and model should be useful in the design and optimization of cell disruption equipment for yeast cell processing. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011