About this Research Topic
Wine has long been characterized as a product that conveys significant socio-economic impact. Its production involves complicated biochemical reactions, carried out in presence of complex microbial entities. Although Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been the most utilized species, hybrids with other species of the Saccharomyces complex have shown to be equally useful and sometimes preferred in fermentation trials.
For several years, non-Saccharomyces were forgotten at industrial level, and some of them were even considered as spoilage microorganisms. However, during the last decade, several researchers have proved numerous non-Saccharomyces to be able to improve wine quality and to solve some modern enology challenges such as improved acidity, aromatic complexity, glycerol content, ethanol reduction, mannoproteins, anthocyanins, and polysaccharide concentrations.
After the alcoholic or primary fermentation, a secondary fermentation known as malolactic fermentation (MLF) is often undertaken by lactic acid bacteria (LAB), particularly Oenococcus oeni. More recently, Lactoplantibacillus plantarum strains have shown most interesting results for their capacity to induce MLF under high pH conditions, their facultative hetero-fermentative properties that avoid acetic acid production from hexose sugars and their more complex enzymatic profile and different metabolism compared to O. oeni, which could play an important role in the modification of wine aromas.
Many researchers support the idea to preserve the autochthonous microflora, which can be associated with a distinct terroir. Likewise, the “microbial terroir” concept is considered emerging as a principal element in modern winemaking. With increasing understanding of microbial diversity and their effects on wine fermentation, wine production can be optimized with enhancing the expression of regional characteristics by understanding and managing the microbes present.
The application of biotechnological strategies for the wine preservation and safety is a relevant topic for the industry; these technologies are highly efficient to reduce the growth of spoilage microorganisms (particularly Brettanomyces spp. contamination), as well as the production of toxic microbial metabolites in wine, including ochratoxin A, ethyl carbamate, and biogenic amines.
The main focus of this Research Topic is to highlight the latest advances on the following topics: 1) strain selection, including Saccharomyces cerevisiae, non-Saccharomyces yeast in so-called mixed-culture fermentations, genetic modifications of S. cerevisiae, and lactic acid bacteria,
2) biotechnological strategies to improve wine production and safety.
This subject will be deepened through the selection of high-quality scientific articles dedicated to wine microbiology.
Keywords: wine microbiology, LAB, malolactic fermentation
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