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Arch Microbiol. 2006 Jun;185(6):459-69. Epub 2006 May 20.

Oenococcus oeni preference for peptides: qualitative and quantitative analysis of nitrogen assimilation.

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Laboratoire de Microbiologie UMR uB/INRA 1232, Université de Bourgogne, 1 Esplanade Erasme, 21000, Dijon, France.


Optimization of malolactic fermentation in wine depends mainly on better understanding of nitrogen nutritional requirements of Oenococcus oeni. Four widely used starter strains and the reference ATCC BAA-1163 strain were grown in media containing different N sources: free amino acids, oligopeptides (0.5-10 kDa) or polypeptides (> 10 kDa). Amino acid auxotrophies were determined by the single omission technique. The tested strains were indifferent to only two to four amino acids and two of the starter strains appeared to be particularly demanding. Nitrogen consumption was investigated and a significant level of nitrogen was consumed by O. oeni only in the free amino acid medium. In media containing complex nitrogen sources, a global balance above 5 mg N l(-1) was enough to ensure biomass formation of all tested strains. Moreover, for all strains, bacterial growth yield was higher in the presence of nitrogen from peptides than that from free amino acids. However, no direct relationship between the bacterial growth level and the amount of nitrogen metabolized could be established. These findings were discussed in relation to the physiology of wine malolactic bacteria.

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