Application of fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) to the analysis of yeast population dynamics in winery and laboratory grape must fermentations

A. Xufre, H. Albergaria, J. Inácio, I. Spencer-Martins, F. Gírio

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    To analyse the yeast population diversity during wine fermentations, specific fluorescein-labelled oligonucleotide probes targeted to the D1/D2 region of the 26S rRNA of different yeast species known to occur frequently in this environment were designed and tested with reference strains. The probes were then used to identify wine must isolates and to follow, in combination with plate counts, the evolution of yeast populations in two winery fermentations of white and red grape musts. In both cases, a high diversity of non-Saccharomyces yeast species was detected, including Candida stellata, Hanseniaspora uvarum, H. guilliermondii, Kluyveromyces marxianus, K. thermotolerans and Torulaspora delbrueckii. Some of these species (e.g., K. marxianus, K. thermotolerans and T. delbrueckii) were present in significant amounts during the tumultuous fermentation stage, despite the predominance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells following the inoculation of the wine musts with a starter strain. To further clarify the yeast population dynamics at the late phase of the fermentations, and because winery conditions do not allow a reliable control of experimental variables, strains isolated from the industrial musts were used to conduct two laboratory microvinifications in synthetic grape juice, using different ratios of S. cerevisiae/non-Saccharomyces in the inocula. Under these conditions, the results were similar to those obtained in the winery, showing a yeast profile with mixed species throughout the first fermentation stage, i.e. until about 40-50% of the total sugar was consumed. Non-Saccharomyces yeasts were outgrown by S. cerevisiae only after ethanol reached concentrations around 4-5% (v / v), which argues in favour of a potential important role of non-Saccharomyces in the final organoleptic characteristics of the wine.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)376-384
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2006


    • FISH
    • In situ hybridisation
    • Non-Saccharomyces
    • Wine yeasts
    • Yeast population dynamics


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