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Keywords:

  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae;
  • assimilable nitrogen;
  • fermentation aroma compounds

Abstract

The contribution of yeast fermentation metabolites to the aromatic profile of wine is well documented; however, the biotechnological application of this knowledge, apart from strain selection, is still rather limited and often contradictory. Understanding and modeling the relationship between nutrient availability and the production of desirable aroma compounds by different strains must be one of the main objectives in the selection of industrial yeasts for the beverage and food industry. In order to overcome the variability in the composition of grape juices, we have used a chemically defined model medium for studying yeast physiological behavior and metabolite production in response to nitrogen supplementation so as to identify an appropriate yeast assimilable nitrogen level for strain differentiation. At low initial nitrogen concentrations, strain KU1 produced higher quantities of esters and fatty acids whereas M522 produced higher concentrations of isoacids, γ-butyrolactone, higher alcohols and 3-methylthio-1-propanol. We propose that although strains KU1 and M522 have a similar nitrogen consumption profile, they represent useful models for the chemical characterization of wine strains in relation to wine quality. The differential production of aroma compounds by the two strains is discussed in relation to their capacity for nitrogen usage and their impact on winemaking. The results obtained here will help to develop targeted metabolic footprinting methods for the discrimination of industrial yeasts.