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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2007 Nov;77(1):145-57. Epub 2007 Sep 11.

Assimilable nitrogen utilisation and production of volatile and non-volatile compounds in chemically defined medium by Saccharomyces cerevisiae wine yeasts.

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Misión Biológica de Galicia, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain.


Surveys conducted worldwide have shown that a significant proportion of grape musts are suboptimal for yeast nutrients, especially assimilable nitrogen. Nitrogen deficiencies are linked to slow and stuck fermentations and sulphidic off-flavour formation. Nitrogen supplementation of grape musts has become common practice; however, almost no information is available on the effects of nitrogen supplementation on wine flavour. In this study, the effect of ammonium supplementation of a synthetic medium over a wide range of nitrogen values on the production of volatile and non-volatile compounds by two high-nitrogen-demand wine fermentation strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae was determined. To facilitate this investigation, a simplified chemically defined medium that resembles the nutrient composition of grape juice was used. Analysis of variance revealed that ammonium supplementation had significant effects on the concentration of residual sugar, L-malic acid, acetic acid and glycerol but not the ethanol concentration. While choice of yeast strain significantly affected half of the aroma compounds measured, nitrogen concentrations affected 23 compounds, including medium-chain alcohols and fatty acids and their esters. Principal component analysis showed that branched-chain fatty acids and their esters were associated with low nitrogen concentrations, whereas medium-chain fatty esters and acetic acid were associated with high nitrogen concentrations.

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