Prolonged cultivation (>25 generations) of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in aerobic, maltose-limited chemostat cultures led to profound physiological changes. Maltose hypersensitivity was observed when cells from prolonged cultivations were suddenly exposed to excess maltose. This substrate hypersensitivity was evident from massive cell lysis and loss of viability. During prolonged cultivation at a fixed specific growth rate, the affinity for the growth-limiting nutrient (i.e., maltose) increased, as evident from a decreasing residual maltose concentration. Furthermore, the capacity of maltose-dependent proton uptake increased up to 2.5-fold during prolonged cultivation. Genome-wide transcriptome analysis showed that the increased maltose transport capacity was not primarily due to increased transcript levels of maltose-permease genes upon prolonged cultivation. We propose that selection for improved substrate affinity (ratio of maximum substrate consumption rate and substrate saturation constant) in maltose-limited cultures leads to selection for cells with an increased capacity for maltose uptake. At the same time, the accumulative nature of maltose-proton symport in S. cerevisiae leads to unrestricted uptake when maltose-adapted cells are exposed to a substrate excess. These changes were retained after isolation of individual cell lines from the chemostat cultures and nonselective cultivation, indicating that mutations were involved. The observed trade-off between substrate affinity and substrate tolerance may be relevant for metabolic engineering and strain selection for utilization of substrates that are taken up by proton symport.