An increase in the intensity and distinct spectral changes of ultraweak luminescence from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae were measured when the metabolism of cells was drastically altered. A small emission peak and a red emission band 680-850 nm appeared when air-dried cells were imbibed in water. Lethal concentrations of HCHO (0.01%-10%) elicited a 2500 fold increase of the emission intensity and distinct spectral alterations. A transient 500-580 nm emission appeared in the initial phase of interaction. Then a gradually increasing long-lasting red emission band centered around 620 nm predominated in the total spectral range covering 470-850 nm. These emissions were not correlated with minor changes in fluorescence emission and excitation spectra originating from tryptophan, flavins, and unidentified emitters.