An Exemplary Model Study for Overcoming Stuck Fermentation during Spontaneous Fermentation with the Aid of a Saccharomyces Triple Hybrid

  •  Eva Christ    
  •  Matthias Kowalczyk    
  •  Magdalena Zuchowska    
  •  Harald Claus    
  •  Reinhard Löwenstein    
  •  Aleksandra Szopinska-Morawska    
  •  Jenny Renaut    
  •  Helmut König    


Sluggish or stuck fermentations cause significant financial losses for winemakers each year. In order to investigate the reasons for problems during spontaneous fermentation of Riesling must in a well-known German vineyard of the lower Moselle, yeast strains involved in must fermentation were identified during winemaking in the two years 2011 and 2012. Identification of the yeast isolates was performed by applying analyses of the ITS-1-5.8-ITS2 region and restriction fragment analyses of different gene sequences. It revealed that Saccharomyces (S.) bayanus and not Saccharomyces cerevisiae was the main fermenting yeast. Either S. bayanus finished the fermentation or led to stuck fermentation. After about four weeks of stuck, fermentation continued spontaneously S. bayanus was replaced by the triple hybrid S. cerevisiae × S. kudriavzevii × S. bayanus. The triple hybrid strain HL 78 was able to utilize fructose more efficiently than S. bayanus strain HL 77. The fructophilic character of the triple hybrid strain correlated with an enhanced uptake of radiolabeled fructose compared to glucose.

In contrast to the usual starter culture S. cerevisiae, both isolates, S. bayanus strain HL 77 and the triple hybrid strain HL 78, could grow in the absence of ammonium when amino acids were present. However, the triple hybrid was able to consume glucose and especially fructose at lower amino acid concentrations. Thus, the triple hybrid strain HL 78 was a suitable strain to overcome stuck fermentation without changing the fermentation conditions and the aroma profile desired by the selected winery. It has already been successfully used to restart stuck fermentation. The procedure described here could be a useful approach for wine makers facing problems during spontaneous fermentation. Since the application of genetically modified yeast strains is not allowed for starter culture, based on these studies we suggest the generation of hybrid strains with desired phenotypical features from mother yeasts strains/species of a certain winery and their application in case that during a spontaneous fermentations a sluggish or stuck fermentation is observed.

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