• Fermentation;
  • Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis;
  • Microbial ecology;
  • Ribosomal RNA;
  • Wine


We present a method to directly characterize the yeast diversity present in wine fermentations by employing denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified 26S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes. PCR-DGGE of a portion of the 26S rRNA gene was shown to distinguish most yeast genera associated with the production of wine. With this method the microbial dynamics in several model wine fermentations were profiled. PCR-DGGE provided a qualitative assessment of the yeast diversity in these fermentations accurately identifying populations as low as 1000 cells ml−1. PCR-DGGE represents an attractive alternative to traditional plating schemes for analysis of the microbial successions inherent in the fermentation of wine.