Giovanna E., FELIS1, Renato Leal BINATI1, Eleonora TROIANO1, Sandra TORRIANI1, Marta TEBALDI2, Alessandro RONCADOR2, Fabio FRACCHETTI2
1 Dept. Biotechnology, University of Verona, Italy
2 Microbion S.r.L. Italy

Email contact:  giovanna.felis[@]

AIM: The use of non-Saccharomyces (NS) yeasts in multi-starter fermentations with S. cerevisiae is a trend in the wine industry, but the number of strains commercially available in a powder formulation, such as active dry yeasts (ADY), is still limited. Considering that NS strains are bioresources which could boost innovation in the wine sector, efficient production of powder formulations is of utmost importance to valorise bioresources outside the laboratory environment.

METHODS: Three strains with high oenological potential, selected in previous studies, namely Lachancea thermotolerans DBT027, Metschnikowia sp. DBT012 and Starmerella bacillaris DBT045 were grown in a sterilized medium mainly constituted by grape juice with yeast assimilable nitrogen integration. Early stationary growth phase cultures were collected and suspended in 1% yeast extract, for powder production. The three prototype batches were rehydrated in tap water, to mimic winery conditions, for 15 minutes at four temperatures (20, 25, 30 and 35 ºC). Survival rates of yeasts were assessed before and after rehydration, and after storage at -20 ºC.

The same powder NS yeasts were also in multi-starter fermentations in winery and their persistence was monitored.

RESULTS: The selected NS yeast strains were able to grow in the production medium with similar yields, and the powder formulation retained elevated cell viability (around 109-1010 cells/g). The optimal rehydration temperature was different for the three strains: Metschnikowia sp. DBT012 and L. thermotolerans DBT027 maintained higher survival at 35 ºC, while S. bacillaris DBT045 at 20 ºC, as could be expected considering the phenotypic characteristics of the species.

Technological performances of the tested powder formulations were satisfactory, especially for DBT012, which was able to grow in grape must after inoculation and dominated over the indigenous microbiota.

CONCLUSIONS: The applied protocol for producing NS yeasts in the powder formulation was successful, as they retained high viability during rehydration and suitable activity when inoculated in must. Powder formulation guaranteed the conservation of the same batch for several comparative tests, bringing out their positive contribution to innovative winemaking biotechnologies. The ability to withstand a larger scale process of biomass production is essential for the exploitation of suitable non-Saccharomyces yeasts selected among a collection of yeast strains with proven oenological potential at laboratory scale.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Research developed in the framework of POR FESR 2014-2020 Regione del Veneto, project VIT-VIVE.

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