Expression of the malolactic enzyme gene (mle) from Lactobacillus plantarum under winemaking conditions
Malolactic fermentation (MLF) plays an important role in the production of wine, especially red wines, resulting in microbial stability, deacidification, as well as contributing to the aroma profile. MLF can be influenced by a number of factors. In this study, the influence of pH and ethanol on expression of the structural malolactic enzyme gene (mle) from Lactobacillus plantarum was investigated in a synthetic wine media, as well as in wine using quantitative PCR. Expression of mle was shown to be inducible by the presence of malic acid, with increased expression in the middle of MLF. Expression of mle was also shown to be increased at low pH values and decreased in the presence of ethanol. This indicates the role of MLF in acid tolerance and the negative impact of ethanol on the completion of MLF. The results therefore provide further evidence that L. plantarum should be applied as co-inoculation for MLF where alcohol will initially not have a negative impact on the malic acid degradation. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.