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Selection of low nitrogen demand yeast strains and their impact on the physicochemical and volatile composition of mead


Mead is an ancient alcoholic beverage produced through the fermentation of a diluted solution of honey. Due to the peculiar and varied composition of honey, mead production faces several problems, such as slow or stuck fermentations mainly due to the low nitrogen concentration, lack of uniformity of the final product and the production of unpleasant aromas. In this context, this work aimed to select low nitrogen-demand yeast strains and evaluate their potential for the production of mead. Therefore, among 21 commercial wine yeast strains, 5 were selected based on their fermentative behavior at low assimilable nitrogen concentrations. The selected strains were further evaluated for their contributions in meads produced with limited nitrogen availability, and the results showed significant differences on some physicochemical parameters like biomass production, residual sugars, glycerol concentration, and fermentative rate. Moreover, meads obtained with selected strains differed in the concentration of several volatile compounds. The volatile compounds concentration and the principal component analysis based on odor activity values allowed separating strains into three groups. In general, S. cerevisiae var bayanus strains (QA23, Spark, and AWRI-R2) were the largest producers of aromatic compounds, particularly those with floral and fruity descriptors. The selection of yeast strains with low nitrogen-demand and different volatile compounds production can be explored by mead makers to limit fermentation problems and obtain characteristic products.

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This study was funded by the Higher Education Personnel Improvement Coordination—Brazil (CAPES)—Financial Code 001 and University of Caxias do Sul.

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Correspondence to Luisa Vivian Schwarz.

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Schwarz, L.V., Marcon, A.R., Delamare, A.P.L. et al. Selection of low nitrogen demand yeast strains and their impact on the physicochemical and volatile composition of mead. J Food Sci Technol 57, 2840–2851 (2020).

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  • Mead
  • Honey
  • Yeast
  • Nitrogen demand
  • Volatile compounds