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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2007 Oct;92(3):331-41. Epub 2007 Jun 12.

Impact of the Botrytis cinerea strain and metabolism on (-)-geosmin production by Penicillium expansum in grape juice.

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  • 1Faculté d'Oenologie, UMR Oenologie-Ampélologie, ISVV, Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, 351 cours de la libération, 33405 Talence Cedex, France.


Geosmin, an off-flavour of some rotten grapes, has been implicated in wine defects. Botrytis cinerea and Penicillium expansum were the most common among the numerous microorganisms isolated from rotten grapes. P. expansum produces geosmin on model media but not healthy grape juice. However, geosmin synthesis by P. expansum was demonstrated in grape juice and on crushed grapes that had been pre-cultured with certain B. cinerea strains. 34 out of 156 B. cinerea strains ([bot +] phenotype) isolated from the centre of grape bunches were able to induce high geosmin production, up to 494 ng/l, by P. expansum in grape juice. A study of the impact of grape juice composition on geosmin synthesis by P. expansum revealed the importance of nitrogen composition, particularly amino-acid deficiency. Metabolism of amino acids by B. cinerea was shown to be favourable to geosmin synthesis by P. expansum. However, the amino-acid and ammonium concentrations in grape juices pre-cultured with B. cinerea [bot -] and [bot +] strains were very similar implying that other factors are involved as well. Indeed, an ethanol-precipitable fraction, probably a polysaccharide, synthesized by B. cinerea [bot -], but not [bot +] strains, inhibited geosmin production by P. expansum.

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