Yeast population dynamics reveal a potential 'collaboration' between Metschnikowia pulcherrima and Saccharomyces uvarum for the production of reduced alcohol wines during Shiraz fermentation

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2015 Feb;99(4):1885-95. doi: 10.1007/s00253-014-6193-6. Epub 2014 Nov 12.


The wine sector is actively seeking strategies and technologies that facilitate the production of wines with lower alcohol content. One of the simplest approaches to achieve this aim would be the use of wine yeast strains which are less efficient at transforming grape sugars into ethanol; however, commercial wine yeasts have very similar ethanol yields. We recently demonstrated that Metschnikowia pulcherrima AWRI1149 was able to produce wine with reduced alcohol concentration when used in sequential inoculation with a wine strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here, different inoculation regimes were explored to study the effect of yeast population dynamics and potential yeast interactions on the metabolism of M. pulcherrima AWRI1149 during fermentation of non-sterile Shiraz must. Of all inoculation regimes tested, only ferments inoculated with M. pulcherrima AWRI1149 showed reduced ethanol concentration. Population dynamics revealed the presence of several indigenous yeast species and one of these, Saccharomyces uvarum (AWRI 2846), was able to produce wine with reduced ethanol concentration in sterile conditions. Both strains however, were inhibited when a combination of three non-Saccharomyces strains, Hanseniaspora uvarum AWRI863, Pichia kluyveri AWRI1896 and Torulaspora delbrueckii AWRI2845 were inoculated into must, indicating that the microbial community composition might impact on the growth of M. pulcherrima AWRI1149 and S. uvarum AWRI 2846. Our results indicate that mixed cultures of M. pulcherrima AWRI1149 and S. uvarum AWRI2846 enable an additional reduction of wine ethanol concentration compared to the same must fermented with either strain alone. This work thus provides a foundation to develop inoculation regimes for the successful application of non-cerevisiae yeast to the production of wines with reduced alcohol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohols / metabolism*
  • Fermentation
  • Metschnikowia / growth & development*
  • Metschnikowia / metabolism*
  • Metschnikowia / physiology
  • Microbial Interactions*
  • Population Dynamics
  • Saccharomyces / growth & development*
  • Saccharomyces / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces / physiology
  • Wine / microbiology*


  • Alcohols