Wine biological aging is a wine making process used to produce specific beverages in several countries in Europe, including Spain, Italy, France, and Hungary. This process involves the formation of a velum at the surface of the wine. Here, we present the first large scale comparison of all European flor strains involved in this process. We inferred the population structure of these European flor strains from their microsatellite genotype diversity and analyzed their ploidy. We show that almost all of these flor strains belong to the same cluster and are diploid, except for a few Spanish strains. Comparison of the array hybridization profile of six flor strains originating from these four countries, with that of three wine strains did not reveal any large segmental amplification. Nonetheless, some genes, including YKL221W/MCH2 and YKL222C, were amplified in the genome of four out of six flor strains. Finally, we correlated ICR1 ncRNA and FLO11 polymorphisms with flor yeast population structure, and associate the presence of wild type ICR1 and a long Flo11p with thin velum formation in a cluster of Jura strains. These results provide new insight into the diversity of flor yeast and show that combinations of different adaptive changes can lead to an increase of hydrophobicity and affect velum formation.
Legras, J. L., Erny, C., & Charpentier, C. (2014). Population structure and comparative genome hybridization of European flor yeast reveal a unique group of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains with few gene duplications in their genome. PLoS ONE, 9(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0108089