Evaluating the impact of yeast co-inoculation on individual yeast metabolism and wine composition

Mains, Arlene Olive (2014-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The use of non-Saccharomyces yeasts together with Saccharomyces cerevisiae in mixed starter cultures has become an accepted oenological tool to enhance the organoleptic properties of wine. Recent studies have indeed demonstrated the positive contribution that non- Saccharomyces yeasts may have on the bouquet of wine. These mixed starter cultures are characterized by high inoculation levels of individual strains into the must, and each strain in turn is characterized by its own specific metabolic activity. These factors lead to a multitude of interactions occurring between the individual populations within the must. The fundamental mechanisms which drive these interactions are still largely unknown, but several studies have been conducted in order to investigate the metabolic outcome of these interactions. In this study, we endeavour to further characterize the interactions which occur between four individual non-Saccharomyces yeast strains in mixed culture fermentation with S. cerevisiae. Metschnikowia pulcherrima IWBT Y1337, Lachancea thermotolerans IWBT Y1240, Issatchenkia orientalis Y1161 and Torulaspora delbrueckii CRBO LO544 were used in mixed culture fermentations with a commercial strain of S. cerevisiae at an inoculation ratio of 10:1 (non-Saccharomyces: S. cerevisiae). The biomass evolution and fermentation kinetics of both participating species were affected by the high cell density of the other, with neither population reaching the maximal density attained by the pure culture fermentation. The final wine composition of each individual mixed fermentation showed clear differences, from the pure cultured S. cerevisiae and from each other, based on the concentrations of the major volatile compounds found in the wine. Upon further characterization of these specific mixed culture fermentations, it was found that each individual combination of non-Saccharomyces and S. cerevisiae produced similar increases and decreases of certain major volatile compounds as demonstrated by previous authors, using the same combination of non-Saccharomyces species together with S. cerevisiae. From a winemaking perspective, the use of these non- Saccharomyces yeast strains in combination with S. cerevisiae could be a useful strategy to diversify the chemical composition of wine, by increasing the concentration of certain desirable volatile compounds and by modulating the concentration of undesirable metabolites. Furthermore, this research serves as a foundation for further elucidation of the interactions which drive these metabolic outcomes in response to the high cell density of two yeast populations in mixed culture fermentations.

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