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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2007 Jul;92(1):61-75. Epub 2007 Jan 25.

The nature of the nitrogen source added to nitrogen depleted vinifications conducted by a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain in synthetic must affects gene expression and the levels of several volatile compounds.

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  • 1Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Facultat de Ciències Biològiques, Universitat de València, Dr. Moliner, 50, 46100, Burjassot, Valencia, Spain.


Nitrogen starvation may lead to stuck and sluggish fermentations. These undesirable situations result in wines with high residual sugar, longer vinification times, and risks of microbial contamination. The typical oenological method to prevent these problems is the early addition of ammonium salts to the grape juice, although excessive levels of these compounds may lead to negative consequences for the final product. This addition reduces the overall fermentation time, regardless of the time of addition, but the effect is more significant when nitrogen is added during the yeast exponential phase. In this work we analysed the effect of adding different nitrogen sources (ammonia, amino acids or a combination of both) under nitrogen depletion in order to understand yeast metabolic changes that lead to the adaptation to the new conditions. These studies were carried out in a synthetic must that mimics the composition of the natural must. Furthermore, we studied how this addition affects fermentative behaviour, the levels of several yeast volatile compounds in the final product, arginase activity, and the expression of several genes involved in stress response and nitrogen metabolism during vinification. We found that the nature of the nitrogen source added during yeast late exponential growth phase introduces changes to the volatile compounds profile and to the gene expression. On the other hand, arginase activity and the expression of the stress response gene ACA1 are useful to monitor nitrogen depletion/addition during growth of the wine yeast considered under our vinification conditions.

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