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J Appl Microbiol. 2000 Aug;89(2):236-48.

Molecular identification of wine yeasts at species or strain level: a case study with strains from two vine-growing areas of Greece.

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  • 1Wine Institute of Athens, National Agricultural Research Foundation, Lykovrissi, Greece.


The composition of wine yeast populations, present during spontaneous fermentation of musts from two wine-producing areas of Greece (Amyndeon and Santorini) and followed for two consecutive years, were studied using a range of molecular techniques. Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) ribotyping was convincingly applied for yeast species identification, proving its usefulness as a reliable tool for the rapid characterization of species composition in yeast population studies. Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was shown to be a convenient criterion for the detection of intraspecies genetic diversity of both Saccharomyces and non-Saccharomyces isolate populations. Similarly, polymorphism of amplified delta interspersed element sequences provided an additional criterion for S. cerevisiae strain differentiation. Comparative analysis of S. cerevisiae genetic diversity, using mtDNA restriction patterns and delta-amplification profiles, showed a similar discriminative power of the two techniques. However, by combining these approaches it was possible to distinguish/characterize strains of the same species and draw useful conclusions about yeast diversity during alcoholic fermentation. The most significant findings in population dynamics of yeasts in the spontaneous fermentations were (i) almost complete absence of non-S.cerevisiae species from fermentations of must originating from the island Santorini, (ii) a well recorded strain polymorphism in populations of non-Saccharomyces species originating from Amyndeon and (iii) an unexpected polymorphism concerning S. cerevisiae populations, much greater than ever reported before in similar studies with wine yeasts of other geographical regions.

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