Gluconobacter oxydans is an industrially important bacterium owing to its regio- and enantio-selective incomplete oxidation of various sugars, alcohols, and polyols. The complete genome sequence is available, but it is still unknown how the organism adapts to highly osmotic sugar-rich environments. Therefore, the mechanisms of osmoprotection in G. oxydans were investigated. The accumulation and transport of solutes are hallmarks of osmoadaptation. To identify potential osmoprotectants, G. oxydans was grown on a yeast glucose medium in the presence of 100 mM potassium phosphate (pH 7.0) along with various concentrations of sucrose (0-600 mM final concentration), which was not metabolized. Intracellular metabolites were analyzed by HPLC and (13)C NMR spectroscopy under stress conditions. Both of these analytical techniques highlighted the accumulation of mannitol as a potent osmoprotectant inside the stressed cells. This intracellular mannitol accumulation correlated with increased extracellular osmolarity of the medium. For further confirmation, the growth behavior of G. oxydans was analyzed in the presence of small amounts of mannitol (2.5-10 mM) and 300 mM sucrose. Growth under sucrose-induced osmotic stress conditions was almost identical to control growth when exogenous mannitol was added in low amounts. Thus, mannitol alleviates the osmotic stress of sucrose on cellular growth. Moreover, the positive effect of exogenous mannitol on the rate of glucose consumption and gluconate formation was also monitored. These results may be helpful to optimize the processes of industrial product formation in highly concentrated sugar solutions.