Producing better wine by taking the stress off yeast

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Washington, Sept 9 (ANI): Times can be stressful for yeast when grape juice is being turned into wine. Now, a researcher from the University of Valencia, Spain has identified the genes in yeast that enable it to respond to stress.

What's more, Dr Agustin Aranda is investigating ways to improve yeast performance by modifying its stress response mechanism.

Speaking at the Society for General Microbiology meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Aranda described the stresses that wine yeasts undergo in the fermentation process. Industrial wine making involves adding dried yeast starter cultures to the juice; both the drying and reactivating processes cause stress damage to the yeast cells. As the juice is fermented into wine the rising ethanol (alcohol) levels also damage the yeast cells and oxidation causes further damage.

By manipulating the genes that control the stress response of the yeast, the researchers found that they could improve its performance in industrial fermentation processes. hey found that a family of enzymes called sirtuins had an important role in controlling wine yeast lifespan.

"Our research aimed to improve winemaking techniques but our findings on oxidative stress and ageing in yeast could be potentially useful in understanding the positive roles of antioxidants present in grapes and grape juice," said Aranda. (ANI)

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