Microvinification—how small can we go?
High-throughput methodologies to screen large numbers of microorganisms necessitate the use of small-scale culture vessels. In this context, an increasing number of researchers are turning to microtiter plate (MTP) formats to conduct experiments. MTPs are now widely used as a culturing vessel for phenotypic screening of aerobic laboratory cultures, and their suitability has been assessed for a range of applications. The work presented here extends these previous studies by assessing the metabolic footprint of MTP fermentation. A comparison of Chardonnay grape juice fermentation in MTPs with fermentations performed in air-locked (self-induced anaerobic) and cotton-plugged (aerobic) flasks was made. Maximum growth rates and biomass accumulation of yeast cultures grown in MTPs were indistinguishable from self-induced anaerobic flask cultures. Metabolic profiles measured differed depending on the metabolite. While glycerol and acetate accumulation mirrored that of self-induced anaerobic cultures, ethanol accumulation in MTP ferments was limited by the increased propensity of this volatile metabolite for evaporation in microlitre-scale culture format. The data illustrates that microplate cultures can be used as a replacement for self-induced anaerobic flasks in some instances and provide a useful and economical platform for the screening of industrial strains and culture media.
KeywordsYeast Microplates Grape juice Fermentation High-throughput
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