Current Microbiology

, Volume 75, Issue 11, pp 1498–1505 | Cite as

Robust Domination of Lactobacillus sakei in Microbiota During Traditional Japanese Sake Starter Yamahai-Moto Fermentation and the Accompanying Changes in Metabolites

  • Atsushi Tsuji
  • Miyuki Kozawa
  • Koji Tokuda
  • Toshiki Enomoto
  • Takashi KoyanagiEmail author


The successful production of sake (Japanese rice wine) is brought about by drastic changes in microbial flora and chemical components during fermentation. In the traditional manufacturing process of sake starter (yamahai-moto), spontaneous growth of lactic acid bacteria suppresses inappropriate microorganisms and prepares the optimum environment for the alcohol fermentative yeast. In this study, we analyzed the changes in bacterial flora and chemical components of yamahai-moto. High-throughput next-generation sequencing (NGS) of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene V4 region revealed that various kinds of bacteria, including nitrate-reducing bacteria, existed in the early fermentation stage; however, Lactobacillus sakei then increased drastically to become dominant in the middle stage. Interestingly, this result was different from that obtained in the previous year at the same manufacturer; the early-stage major bacterium was Lactobacillus acidipiscis. Lactic acid, glucose, isomaltose, and total free amino acids increased throughout the fermentation process, which was attributable to the metabolism of L. sakei and the koji mold. It is noteworthy that significant ornithine accumulation and arginine consumption were observed from the middle to late stages. Thirty-eight percent of the L. sakei isolates from yamahai-moto exhibited significant ornithine production, indicating that the arginine deiminase pathway of L. sakei was working to survive the extremely low pH environment of the moto after the middle stage. This is the first report that includes concurrent analyses of the NGS-based bacterial flora and chemical components of yamahai-moto, providing further knowledge to help understand and improve the process of sake brewing.



This work was partially supported by Faculty research funds from Ishikawa Prefectural University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

284_2018_1551_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (202 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 201 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Atsushi Tsuji
    • 1
    • 2
  • Miyuki Kozawa
    • 3
  • Koji Tokuda
    • 3
  • Toshiki Enomoto
    • 2
  • Takashi Koyanagi
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Industrial Research Institute of IshikawaKanazawaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Food ScienceIshikawa Prefectural UniversityNonoichiJapan
  3. 3.Shata-Shuzo Co., Ltd.HakusanJapan

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