Insights into the bacterial community and its temporal succession during the fermentation of wine grapes

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Grapes harbor complex microbial communities. It is well known that yeasts, typically Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and bacteria, commonly the lactic acid fermenting Oenococcus oeni, work sequentially during primary and secondary wine fermentation. In addition to these main players, several microbes, often with undesirable effects on wine quality, have been found in grapes and during wine fermentation. However, still little is known about the dynamics of the microbial community during the fermentation process. In previous studies culture dependent methods were applied to detect and identify microbial organisms associated with grapes and grape products, which resulted in a picture that neglected the non-culturable fraction of the microbes. To obtain a more complete picture of how microbial communities change during grape fermentation and how different fermentation techniques might affect the microbial community composition, we employed next-generation sequencing (NGS) - a culture-independent method. A better understanding of the microbial dynamics and their effect on the final product is of great importance to help winemakers produce wine styles of consistent and high quality. In this study, we focused on the bacterial community dynamics during wine vinification by amplifying and sequencing the hypervariable V1-V3 region of the 16S rRNA gene - a phylogenetic marker gene that is ubiquitous within prokaryotes. Bacterial communities and their temporal succession was observed for communities associated with organically and conventionally produced wines. In addition, we analyzed the chemical characteristics of the grape musts during the organic and conventional fermentation process. These analyses revealed distinct bacterial population with specific temporal changes as well as different chemical profiles for the organically and conventionally produced wines. In summary these results suggest a possible correlation between the temporal succession of the bacterial population and the chemical wine profiles.




Piao, H., Hawley, E., Kopf, S., DeScenzo, R., Sealock, S., Henick-Kling, T., & Hess, M. (2015). Insights into the bacterial community and its temporal succession during the fermentation of wine grapes. Frontiers in Microbiology, 6(JUL).

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