The production of preconditioned freeze-dried Oenococcus oeni primes its metabolism to withstand environmental stresses encountered upon inoculation into wine

Int J Food Microbiol. 2022 May 16;369:109617. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2022.109617. Epub 2022 Mar 10.


Oenococcus oeni is the most resistant lactic acid bacteria species to the environmental stresses encountered in wine, particularly the acidity, presence of ethanol and phenolic compounds. Indigenous strains develop spontaneously following the yeast-driven alcoholic fermentation and may perform the malolactic fermentation whereby improving taste, aroma, and the microbial stability of wine. However, spontaneous fermentation is sometimes delayed, prolonged or incomplete. In order to better control its timing and quality, O. oeni strains are selected and developed to be used as malolactic starters. They are prepared under proprietary manufacturing processes to survive direct inoculation and are predominantly provided as freeze-dried preparations. In this study, we have investigated the physiological and molecular alterations occurring in O. oeni cells prepared by an industrial process that consists of preconditioning protocols and freeze-drying, and compared them to the same strain grown in a grape juice medium. We found that compared to cultured cells, the industrial production process improved survival under extreme conditions, i. e. at low pH or high tannin concentrations. In contrast, cultured cells resumed active growth more quickly and strongly than freeze-dried preparations in standard pH wines. A proteomic analysis showed that during the industrial production most non-essential metabolic processes are shut down and components of the general and the stringent stress response are upregulated. The presence of major components of the stress response facilitates protein homeostasis and physiological changes that further ensure the integrity of cells.

Keywords: Comparative proteomics; Freeze-drying; Lactic acid bacteria; Malolactic fermentation; Stress response.

MeSH terms

  • Fermentation
  • Malates / metabolism
  • Oenococcus* / metabolism
  • Proteomics
  • Wine* / microbiology


  • Malates

Supplementary concepts

  • Oenococcus oeni