The goal of this study is to carry out a characterization of 84 Oenococcus oeni strains isolated from Tempranillo wine samples taken at the cellars in Castilla-La Mancha, in order to select those showing the highest potential as oenological starter cultures. Various oenological properties were analyzed and the ability of some of these strains to grow and undergo MLF in simulated laboratory microvinifications was tested. Twenty-two strains were selected on the basis of fermentation assays and the eight that produced the best results in the chemical analysis of the wines were chosen for further assays. None of the eight strains was either able to produce biogenic amines or displayed tannase or anthocyanase activities. On the other hand all presented activity against p-NP-beta Glucopyranoside, p-NP-alpha Glucopyranoside and p-NP-beta xylopyranoside. Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD)-PCR was used to determine the colonizing ability of the inoculated strains. C22L9 and D13L13 strains showed the highest implantation values. On the basis of this characterization, two strains have been selected which are suitable as starter cultures for MLF of Tempranillo wine. Use of these strains will ensure that MLF proceeds successfully and gives retention of the organoleptic characteristics of wines made in Castilla-La Mancha.
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