Yeast population dynamics in spontaneous fermentations: comparison between two different wine-producing areas over a period of three years

Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2001 Sep;79(3-4):345-52. doi: 10.1023/a:1012027718701.


Yeast ecology, biogeography and biodiversity are important and interesting topics of research. The population dynamics of yeasts in several cellars of two Spanish wine-producing regions was analysed for three consecutive years (1996 to 1998). No yeast starter cultures had been used in these wineries which therefore provided an ideal winemaking environment to investigate the dynamics of grape-related indigenous yeast populations. Non-Saccharomyces yeast species were identified by RFLPs of their rDNA, while Saccharomyces species and strains were identified by RFLPs of their mtDNA. This study confirmed the findings of other reports that non-Saccharomyces species were limited to the early stages of fermentation whilst Saccharomyces dominated towards the end of the alcoholic fermentation. However, significant differences were found with previous studies, such as the survival of non-Saccharomyces species in stages with high alcohol content and a large variability of Saccharomyces strains (a total of 112, all of them identified as Saccharomyces cerevisiae) with no clear predominance of any strain throughout all the fermentation, probably related to the absence of killer phenotype and lack of previous inoculation with commercial strains.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer / genetics
  • Ecosystem*
  • Fermentation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Saccharomyces / genetics
  • Saccharomyces / growth & development
  • Spain
  • Wine / microbiology*
  • Yeasts / classification*
  • Yeasts / genetics
  • Yeasts / growth & development*


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer