A novel methodology independent of fermentation rate for assessment of the fructophilic character of wine yeast strains

Original Paper

Abstract

The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has a fundamental role in fermenting grape juice to wine. During alcoholic fermentation its catabolic activity converts sugars (which in grape juice are a near equal ratio of glucose and fructose) and other grape compounds into ethanol, carbon dioxide and sensorily important metabolites. However, S. cerevisiae typically utilises glucose and fructose with different efficiency: glucose is preferred and is consumed at a higher rate than fructose. This results in an increasing difference between the concentrations of glucose and fructose during fermentation. In this study 20 commercially available strains were investigated to determine their relative abilities to utilise glucose and fructose. Parameters measured included fermentation duration and the kinetics of utilisation of fructose when supplied as sole carbon source or in an equimolar mix with glucose. The data were then analysed using mathematical calculations in an effort to identify fermentation attributes which were indicative of overall fructose utilisation and fermentation performance. Fermentation durations ranged from 74.6 to over 150 h, with clear differences in the degree to which glucose utilisation was preferential. Given this variability we sought to gain a more holistic indication of strain performance that was independent of fermentation rate and therefore utilized the area under the curve (AUC) of fermentation of individual or combined sugars. In this way it was possible to rank the 20 strains for their ability to consume fructose relative to glucose. Moreover, it was shown that fermentations performed in media containing fructose as sole carbon source did not predict the fructophilicity of strains in wine-like conditions (equimolar mixture of glucose and fructose). This work provides important information for programs which seek to generate strains that are faster or more reliable fermenters.

Keywords

Glucose Fructose Fermentation progress Strain comparison Composite trapezoid rule 

Abbreviation

AUC

Area under the curve

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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Agriculture, Food and WineThe University of AdelaideGlen OsmondAustralia
  2. 2.Wine Innovation ClusterAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.The Australian Wine Research InstituteGlen OsmondAustralia

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