Putrescine, the most abundant biogenic amine in wine, was proved to be produced by Oenococcus oeni strains in wine not only from ornithine but also from arginine. In this case, putrescine may originate from strains possessing the complete enzyme system to convert arginine to putrescine or by a metabiotic association, with an exchange of ornithine, between strains capable of metabolizing arginine to ornithine but unable to produce putrescine and strains capable of producing putrescine from ornithine but unable to degrade arginine. Putrescine production by this metabiotic association occurred once the malolactic fermentation was completed, whereas conversion of ornithine to putrescine by a single culture of the ornithine decarboxylating strain concurred with the degradation of malic acid. Moreover, in the former case, putrescine formation proceeded more slowly than in the latter. Metabiosis may play an important role in the accumulation of putrescine in wine, arginine being one of the major amino acids found in wine.