Browsing Doctoral Degrees (Viticulture and Oenology) by Subject "Agriculture"
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- ItemComparative 'omic' profiling of industrial wine yeast strains(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2009-12) Rossouw, D.; Bauer, Florian; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Agrisciences. Dept. of Viticulture and Oenology. Institute for Wine Biotechnology.The main goal of this project was to elucidate the underlying genetic factors responsible for the different fermentation phenotypes and physiological adaptations of industrial wine yeast strains. To address this problem an ‘omic’ approach was pursued: Five industrial wine yeast strains, namely VIN13, EC1118, BM45, 285 and DV10, were subjected to transcriptional, proteomic and exometabolomic profiling during alcoholic fermentation in simulated wine-making conditions. The aim was to evaluate and integrate the various layers of data in order to obtain a clearer picture of the genetic regulation and metabolism of wine yeast strains under anaerobic fermentative conditions. The five strains were also characterized in terms of their adhesion/flocculation phenotypes, tolerance to various stresses and survival under conditions of nutrient starvation. Transcriptional profiles for the entire yeast genome were obtained for three crucial stages during fermentation, namely the exponential growth phase (day 2), early stationary phase (day 5) and late stationary phase (day 14). Analysis of changes in gene expression profiles during the course of fermentation provided valuable insights into the genetic changes that occur as the yeast adapt to changing conditions during fermentation. Comparison of differentially expressed transcripts between strains also enabled the identification of genetic factors responsible for differences in the metabolism of these strains, and paved the way for genetic engineering of strains with directed modifications in key areas. In particular, the integration of exo-metabolite profiles and gene expression data for the strains enabled the construction of statistical models with a strong predictive capability which was validated experimentally. Proteomic analysis enabled correlations to be made between relative transcript abundance and protein levels for approximately 450 gene and protein pairs per analysis. The alignment of transcriptome and proteome data was very accurate for interstrain comparisons. For intrastrain comparisons, there was almost no correlation between trends in protein and transcript levels, except in certain functional categories such as metabolism. The data also provide interesting insights into molecular evolutionary mechanisms that underlie the phenotypic diversity of wine yeast strains. Overall, the systems biology approach to the study of yeast metabolism during alcoholic fermentation opened up new avenues for hypothesis-driven research and targeted engineering strategies for the genetic enhancement/ modification of wine yeast for commercial applications.
- ItemThe effect of enzymatic processing on banana juice and wine(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2008-12) Byarugaba-Bazirake, George William; Van Rensburg, Pierre; Kyamuhangire, William; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of AgriSciences. Dept. of Viticulture and Oenology. Institute for Wine Biotechnology.Although bananas are widely grown worldwide in many tropical and a few subtropical countries, banana beverages are still among the fruit beverages processed by use of rudimentary methods such as the use of feet or/and spear grass to extract juice. Because banana juice and beer remained on a home made basis, there is a research drive to come up with modern technologies to more effectively process bananas and to make acceptable banana juices and wines. One of the main hindrances in the production of highly desirable beverages is the pectinaceous nature of the banana fruit, which makes juice extraction and clarification very difficult. Commercial enzyme applications seem to be the major way forward in solving processing problems in order to improve banana juice and wine quality. The particular pectinolytic enzymes that were selected for this study are Rapidase CB, Rapidase TF, Rapidase X-press and OE-Lallzyme. In addition this study, investigate the applicability of recombinant yeast strains with pectinolytic, xylanolytic, glucanolytic and amylolytic activities in degrading the banana polysaccharides (pectin, xylan, glucan starch) for juice and wine extraction and product clarification. The overall objective of this research was to improve banana juice and wine by enzymatic processing techniques and to improve alcoholic fermentation and to produce limpid and shelf-stable products of clarified juice and wine. The focus was on applying the selected commercial enzyme preparations specifically for the production of better clarified banana juice and wine. This is because the turbid banana juice and beer, which contain suspended solids that are characterised by a very intense banana flavour, require a holistic approach to address challenges and opportunities in order to process pure banana beverages with desirable organoleptic qualities. The specific objectives of applying commercial enzymes in the processing of banana juice and wine, comparing with grape winemaking practices, use of recombinant yeast and analyses of various parameters in the juices and wines made have enabled generation of information that could be of help to prospective banana juice and wine processors. The research findings obtained could be used to establish a pilot plant or small-scale industry in the banana processing beverages producing large quantities,and finally the overall objective of obtaining limpid and shelf stable products would be achieved.
- ItemEvaluation of evolutionary engineering strategies for the generation of novel wine yeast strains with improved metabolic characteristics(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2008-12) Horsch, Heidi K.; Nieuwoudt, Helene; Gafner, J.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of AgriSciences. Dept. of Viticulture and Oenology. Institute for Wine Biotechnology.The occurrence of sluggish and stuck fermentations continues to be a serious problem in the global wine industry, leading to loss of product, low quality wines, cellar management problems and consequently to significant financial losses. Comprehensive research has shown that many different factors can act either in isolation, or more commonly synergistically, to negatively affect fermentative activity of wine yeast strains of the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The individual factors most commonly referred to in the literature are various nutrient and oxygen limitations. However, other factors have been shown to contribute to the problem. Because of the mostly synergistic nature of the impacts, no single factor can usually be identified as the primary cause of stuck fermentation. In this study, several strategies to evolutionarily engineer wine yeast strains that are expected to reduce the occurrence of stuck and sluggish fermentations are investigated. In particular, the investigations focus on improving the ability of wine yeast to better respond to two of the factors that commonly contribute to the occurrence of such fermentations, nitrogen limitation and the development of an unfavorable ratio of glucose and fructose during fermentation. The evolutionary engineering strategies relied on mass-mating or mutagenesis of successful commercial wine yeast strains to generate yeast populations of diverse genetic backgrounds. These culture populations were then exposed to enrichment procedures either in continuous or sequential batch cultivation conditions while applying specific evolutionary selection pressures. In one of the stragegies, yeast populations were subjected to continuous cultivation under hexose, and especially fructose, limitation. The data show that the strains selected after this procedure were usually able to out-compete the parental strains in these selective conditions. However, the improved phenotype was not detectable when strains were evaluated in laboratory scale wine fermentations. In contrast, the selection procedure in continuous cultivation in nitrogen limiting conditions proved to be highly efficient for the generation of yeast strains with higher total fermentative capacity in low nitrogen musts. Furthermore, yeast strains selected after mutagenesis and sequential batch cultivation in synthetic musts with a very low glucose on fructose ratio showed a fructose specific improvement in fermentative capacity. This phenotype, which corresponds to the desired outcome, was also present in laboratory scale wine fermentations, where the discrepancy between glucose and fructose utilization of the selected strains was significantly reduced when compared to the parents. Finally, a novel strategy for the rectification of stuck fermentations was adjusted to industrial conditions. The strategy is based on the use of a natural isolate of the yeast species Zygosaccharomyces bailii, which is known for its preference of fructose. This process was successfully established and implemented in the wine industry.
- ItemIndustrial yeast strains engineered for controlled flocculation(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2009-03) Govender, Patrick; Bauer, Florian; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Agrisciences. Dept. of Viticulture and Oenology. Institute for Wine Biotechnology.In many industrial fermentation processes, Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast should ideally meet two partially conflicting demands. During fermentation a high suspended yeast count is of paramount importance to maintain a rapid fermentation rate, whilst efficient flocculation should ideally be initiated only on completion of the primary alcoholic fermentation, so as to enhance product clarification and recovery. Most commercial wine yeast strains are non-flocculent, probably because this trait was counter-selected to avoid fermentation problems. In this study, we assessed molecular strategies to optimise the flocculation behaviour of non-flocculent laboratory and wine yeast strains. For this purpose, the chromosomal copies of three dominant flocculation genes, FLO1, FLO5 and FLO11, of a non-flocculent S. cerevisiae laboratory strain (FY23) and two commercial wine yeast strains (BM45 and VIN13) were placed under the transcriptional control of the stationary phase-inducible promoters of the S. cerevisiae ADH2 or HSP30 genes. Under standard laboratory media and culture conditions, all six promoter-gene combinations resulted in specific flocculation behaviours in terms of timing and intensity. The data show that the strategy resulted in the expected and stable expression patterns of these genes in both laboratory and industrial wine yeast strains. Most importantly, the data confirm that inducible expression of the native FLO1 and FLO5 open reading frames, albeit to varying degrees, are responsible for a quantifiable cell-cell adhesion phenotype that can be characterized as a Flo1 flocculation phenotype. On the other hand, we found that inducible expression of the native FLO11 ORF under these conditions resulted in flor/biofilm formation and invasive growth phenotypes. However, the specific impact of the expression of individual dominant FLO genes with regard to characteristics such as flocculation efficiency, cell wall hydrophobicity, biofilm formation and substrate adhesion properties showed significant differences between the commercial strains as well as between commercial and laboratory strains. These adhesion phenotype differences may at least in part be attributed to wine yeast FLO gene open reading frames containing significantly smaller intragenic repeat regions than laboratory strains. The data show that the ADH2 regulatory sequences employed in this study were unsuitable for the purpose of driving FLO gene expression under wine-making conditions. However, HSP30p-based FLO1 and FLO5 wine yeast transformants displayed similar flocculent phenotypes under both synthetic and authentic red wine-making conditions, and the intensities of these phenotypes were closely aligned to those observed under nutrient-rich YEPD conditions. The fermentation activities of HSP30p-based transgenic yeast strains were indistinguishable from that of their parental host wine yeast strains. The chemical composition of wines obtained using transgenic yeast strains were similar to those produced by parental strains. The BM45-derived HSP30p-FLO5 transformant in particular was capable of generating compacted or ‘caked’ lees fractions, thereby providing a distinct separation of the fermented wine product and lees fractions. Furthermore, in this study we report a novel FLO11 induced flocculation phenotype that seems to exclusively develop under authentic red wine-making conditions. This strong FLO11 flocculation phenotype was not wine yeast strain dependant, possessed both Ca2+-dependant and Ca2+-independent flocculation characteristics and was insensitive to inhibition by both glucose and mannose. A distinct advantage of this unique FLO11 phenotype was highlighted in its ability to dramatically promote faster lees settling rates. Moreover, wines produced by HSP30p-FLO11 wine yeast transformants were significantly less turbid than those produced by their wild type parental strains. The benefit of this attractive property is it facilitates simpler and faster recovery of wines and also promotes greater volume recovery of the wine product.
- ItemIsolation and characterization of antifungal peptides from plants(Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2008-03) De Beer, Abre; Vivier, Melane A.; University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Agrisciences. Dept. of Viticulture and Oenology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Over the last decade research has shown the importance of small antimicrobial peptides in the innate immunity of plants. These peptides do not only play a critical role in the multilayered defense systems of plants, but have proven valuable in the engineering of disease resistant food crops towards the ultimate aim of reducing the dependency on chemical fungicides. As the lists of isolated and characterized peptides grew, it became clear that other biological activities, in addition to the antimicrobial capacity, could be linked to some of these peptides; these alternative activities could have important applications in the field of medicine. This has made the defensin encoding genes prime targets for the agricultural and medical biotechnology sectors. To this end we set out to evaluate South African flora for the presence of plant defensin sequences and to isolate plant defensin genes that might be useful in biotechnology applications. Moreover, by isolating and characterizing these novel peptides, also in an in planta environment and in interaction with fungal pathogens, important knowledge will be gained of the biological role and importance of the peptides in the plant body. The plant host targets were South Africa Brassicaceae species including indigenous species, as well as Vitis vinifera, as the most important fruit crop in the world and since no defensins have been isolated from this economically important crop plant. The Brassicaceae family has been shown to be abundant in defensin peptides and several of the best characterized peptides with potent activity have been isolated from this family. Based on initial activity screens conducted on selected South African Brassicaceae spp. we concluded that these spp. contain promising antifungal peptide activities, warranting further efforts to isolate the genes and encoding peptides and to characterize them further. The preliminary activity screens used a peptide-enrichment isolation strategy that favored the isolation of basic, heat-stable peptides; these properties are characteristic features of plant antimicrobial peptides. These peptide fractions showed strong antifungal activities against the test organisms. A PCR-amplification strategy was subsequently designed and implemented, leading to the isolation of 14 novel defensin peptide encoding genes from four South African Brassicaceae spp., including the indigenous South African species Heliophila coronopifolia. Amino acid sequence analysis of these peptides revealed that they are diverse in amino acid composition and share only 42% homology at amino acid level. This divergence in amino acid composition is important for the identification of new biological activities within closely related plant defensins. Single amino acid changes have been contributed with the divergent biological activities observed in closely related plant defensin peptides. Phylogenetic analysis conducted on the deduced amino acid sequences revealed that all the new defensins share a close relationship to other Brassicaceae members of the plant defensin superfamily and was furthest removed from the defensins isolated from the families Solanaceae and Poaceae. Classification analysis of these peptides showed that they belong to subgroup A3 of the defensin superfamily. A putative defensin sequence was also isolated from V. vinifera cultivar, Pinotage, and termed Vv-AMP1. Genetic characterization showed that only a single gene copy of this peptide is present within the V. vinifera genome, situated on chromosome 1. Genetic characterization of this peptide encoding gene within the Vitis genus showed that this gene has stayed conserved throughout the divergent evolution of the Vitis genus. Expression studies of Vv-AMP1 revealed that this gene is expressed in a tissue specific and developmentally regulated manner, being only expressed in grape berries and only at the onset of vèraison. Induction of Vv-AMP1 in grapevine leaf material could never be achieved through the external application of hormones, osmotic stress, wounding, or pathogen infection by Botrytis cinerea. Deduced amino acid analysis showed that Vv-AMP1 encoded for a 77 amino acid peptide consisting of a 30 amino acid signal peptide and a 47 amino acid mature peptide, with putative antifungal activity. The Vv-AMP1 peptide grouped with the subclass B type defensins, which have been documented to have both antifungal and antibacterial activities. The Vv-AMP1 signal peptide directed the green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene to the apoplastic regions in cells with high levels of accumulation in the vascular tissue and the guard cells of the stomata. Recombinant Vv-AMP1 peptide was successfully purified from a bacterial host and shown to have a size of 5.495 kDa. Recombinant Vv-AMP1 showed strong antifungal activity at low concentrations against a broad spectrum of fungal pathogens, which included Verticillium dahliae (IC50 of 1.8 μg mL-1) and the necrotrophic pathogen Botrytis cinerea (IC50 of 12-13 μg mL-1). Antifungal activity of Vv-AMP1 did not induce morphological changes in fungal hyphae, but its activity was associated with induced membrane permeabilization in treated hyphae. Vv-AMP1 was successfully introduced into Nicotiana tabacum as confirmed by Southern blot analysis and 20 individual lines were generated. Genetic characterization confirmed the integration and expression of the gene in the heterologous tobacco environment. The peptide was under control of its native signal sequence which has been shown to direct its product to the apoplastic regions of cells. The transgenic lines were analyzed to determine the presence and activity of the grapevine defensin peptide. Western blot analyses of partially purified plant extracts detected a signal of the expected size in both the untransformed control and the transgenic lines. Comprehensive analysis of EST databases identified three highly homologous sequences from tobacco that probably caused the background signal in the control. These crude protein extracts were able to inhibit the growth of V. dahliae in vitro when tested in a microtiter plate assay, but the inhibition could not be conclusively linked to the presence of the transgenic peptide, since non-expressing transgenic lines, included as controls, also showed inhibition. Similar results were obtained with infection studies, clearly showing that despite successful integration and expression of the transgene, the peptides was either not functional in the heterologous environment, or perhaps unstable under the particular regulatory conditions. This peptide belongs to a subclass of peptides known for associated activities that might activate tight control by plant hosts if threshold levels are reached. These aspects need further investigation, specifically since it is in stark contrast to previous results obtained with defensins from a different subclass. This study has also yielded significant other related resources that would be instrumental for further possible biotechnology exploitation of some of the novel peptides, but also to provide genetic constructs and plant material that would be invaluable to address fundamentally important questions such as the regulation and mode of action of defensin peptides, specifically in interaction with pathogen hosts. The novel peptides have been transformed to various hosts, including grapevine and these transgenic populations are available to facilitate the next rounds of research into this extremely promising group of antifungal peptides.