Aims: The detection and isolation of lactic acid bacteria by enrichment methods from wine grapes cultivated in vineyards located in New South Wales, Australia.
Methods and results: Enrichment cultures in de Man, Rogosa and Sharpe (MRS) broth, MRS + ethanol (5%), MRS broth supplemented with 15% (v/v) tomato juice (MRST), pH 5.5 and 3.5 and autoenrichment in grape juice homogenate were used to detect lactic acid bacteria on wine grapes. Bacteria were isolated from enrichment cultures by plating onto MRS and MRST agar and identified by 16S rDNA sequence analysis and phenotypical methods. A molecular method, PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) was also used to examine the bacteria that developed in enrichment cultures. Species of Lactobacillus, Enterococcus, Lactococcus and Weissella were detected in enrichments by plating and PCR-DGGE. Other bacteria (Sporolactobacillus, Asaia, Bacillus ssp.) were also found in some enrichment cultures. The principal malolactic bacterium, Oenococcus oeni, was not isolated.
Conclusions: The incidence and populations of lactic acid bacteria on wine grapes were very low. Damaged grape berries showed a greater presence of these bacteria than undamaged berries. The diversity of bacterial species isolated from the grapes was greater than those previously reported and represented both lactic acid bacteria and nonlactic acid bacteria. Some of these bacteria (i.e. Lactobacillus lindneri, Lactobacillus kunkeei) could be detrimental to wine production. Oenococcus oeni was not found on grapes, but its recovery could be obscured by overgrowth from other species.
Significance and impact of the study: Lactic acid bacteria are significant in wine production because they conduct the malolactic fermentation and cause stuck or sluggish alcoholic fermentation and wine spoilage. This study investigates wine grapes as a potential source of these bacteria.