Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 98, Issue 19, pp 8111–8132 | Cite as

Implications of new research and technologies for malolactic fermentation in wine

  • Krista M. Sumby
  • Paul R. Grbin
  • Vladimir Jiranek


The initial conversion of grape must to wine is an alcoholic fermentation (AF) largely carried out by one or more strains of yeast, typically Saccharomyces cerevisiae. After the AF, a secondary or malolactic fermentation (MLF) which is carried out by lactic acid bacteria (LAB) is often undertaken. The MLF involves the bioconversion of malic acid to lactic acid and carbon dioxide. The ability to metabolise l-malic acid is strain specific, and both individual Oenococcus oeni strains and other LAB strains vary in their ability to efficiently carry out MLF. Aside from impacts on acidity, LAB can also metabolise other precursors present in wine during fermentation and, therefore, alter the chemical composition of the wine resulting in an increased complexity of wine aroma and flavour. Recent research has focused on three main areas: enzymatic changes during MLF, safety of the final product and mechanisms of stress resistance. This review summarises the latest research and technological advances in the rapidly evolving study of MLF and investigates the directions that future research may take.


Oenococcus oeni Lactobacillus Malolactic fermentation Wine 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krista M. Sumby
    • 1
  • Paul R. Grbin
    • 1
  • Vladimir Jiranek
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Agriculture, Food and WineThe University of AdelaideGlen OsmondAustralia

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