The enumeration and identification of acetic acid bacteria from South African red wine fermentations
Acetic acid bacteria are microorganisms that can profoundly influence the quality of wine. Surprisingly, little research has been done on these microorganisms in the winemaking field. The object of this study was to investigate the occurrence of acetic acid bacteria in South African red wine fermentations and to identify the dominant species occurring. Acetic acid bacteria were isolated and enumerated from small-scale and commercial red must fermentations in 1998 and 1999, respectively. The initial occurrence of acetic acid bacteria in the must was shown to vary with cell numbers ranging from 106-107 to 104-105 cfu/ml for the 1998 and 1999 musts, respectively. The acetic acid bacteria decreased to 102-103 cfu/ml in musts having a low pH (≤3.6), whereas in some musts having a high pH (≥3.7), the cell numbers increased during fermentation. During the process of cold soaking, the cell numbers of acetic acid bacteria also increased until inoculation with commercial wine yeast. Gluconobacter oxydans dominated in the fresh must and Acetobacter pasteurianus and A. liquefaciens during fermentation. This study showed that A. liquefaciens and A. hansenii were present in significant numbers, which has not been reported before. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.