Microbial diversity and their roles in the vinegar fermentation process

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2015 Jun;99(12):4997-5024. doi: 10.1007/s00253-015-6659-1. Epub 2015 May 15.


Vinegar is one of the oldest acetic acid-diluted solution products in the world. It is produced from any fermentable sugary substrate by various fermentation methods. The final vinegar products possess unique functions, which are endowed with many kinds of compounds formed in the fermentation process. The quality of vinegar is determined by many factors, especially by the raw materials and microbial diversity involved in vinegar fermentation. Given that metabolic products from the fermenting strains are directly related to the quality of the final products of vinegar, the microbial diversity and features of the dominant strains involved in different fermentation stages should be analyzed to improve the strains and stabilize fermentation. Moreover, although numerous microbiological studies have been conducted to examine the process of vinegar fermentation, knowledge about microbial diversity and their roles involved in fermentation is still fragmentary and not systematic enough. Therefore, in this review, the dominant microorganism species involved in the stages of alcoholic fermentation and acetic acid fermentation of dissimilar vinegars were summarized. We also summarized various physicochemical properties and crucial compounds in disparate types of vinegar. Furthermore, the merits and drawbacks of vital fermentation methods were generalized. Finally, we described in detail the relationships among microbial diversity, raw materials, fermentation methods, physicochemical properties, compounds, functionality, and final quality of vinegar. The integration of this information can provide us a detailed map about the microbial diversity and function involved in vinegar fermentation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid / metabolism*
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Biodiversity*
  • Bioreactors / microbiology
  • Fermentation


  • Acetic Acid