Biogenic amines in wines: role of lactic acid bacteria

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2001 May 15;199(1):9-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2001.tb10643.x.


Biogenic amines have undesirable physiological effects when absorbed at too high a concentration. Several kinds of food and beverages contain biogenic amines. Lactic acid bacteria can decarboxylate amino acids. Since winemaking involves the growth of lactic acid bacteria for malolactic fermentation, biogenic amines may occur. However, not all bacterial strains carry these activities. In the same wine-producing area, some wines may contain very low amounts of biogenic amines while others may have relatively large quantities. It is now possible to detect the presence of undesirable histamine-producing strains by PCR test or DNA probe based on the presence of the gene encoding histidine decarboxylase. Other strains have the ornithine and/or tyrosine decarboxylase. When biogenic amine-producing strains are present, the winemaker is encouraged to inoculate selected malolactic starters to replace the indigenous microflora.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biogenic Amines / metabolism*
  • Clostridium / enzymology*
  • Fermentation
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism
  • Lactobacillaceae / enzymology*
  • Malates / metabolism
  • Wine / microbiology*


  • Biogenic Amines
  • Malates
  • Lactic Acid
  • malic acid