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J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Sep 23;57(18):8373-8. doi: 10.1021/jf901093v.

Three different targets for the genetic modification of wine yeast strains resulting in improved effectiveness of bentonite fining.

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  • 1Instituto de Ciencias de la Vid y del Vino (CSIC-UR-CAR) Logrono (La Rioja), Spain.


Bentonite fining is used in the clarification of white wines to prevent protein haze. This treatment results in the loss of a significant portion of the wine itself, as well as aroma compounds important for the quality of white wines. Among other interesting effects on wine quality, yeast cell wall mannoproteins have been shown to stabilize wine against protein haze. A previous work showed that wine yeast strains engineered by deletion of KNR4 release increased amounts of mannoproteins and produce wines showing attenuated responses in protein haze tests. This paper describes the technological properties of several new recombinant wine yeast strains, deleted for genes involved in cell-wall biogenesis, as well as the regulatory gene KNR4. Stabilization of wines produced by three of the six recombinant strains analyzed required 20-40% less bentonite than those made with their nonrecombinant counterparts. The availability of multiple targets for genetically improving yeast mannoprotein release, as shown in this work, is relevant not only for genetic engineering of wine yeast but especially for the feasibility of genetically improving this character by classical methods of strain development such as random mutagenesis or sexual hybridization.

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