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J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2008 Aug;35(8):835-41. doi: 10.1007/s10295-008-0355-4. Epub 2008 May 1.

Characterization of kinetic parameters and the formation of volatile compounds during the tequila fermentation by wild yeasts isolated from agave juice.

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Departamento de Biotransformación Microbiana, Centro de Investigación y Asistencia en Tecnología y Diseño del Estado de Jalisco, Av. Normalistas 800, C.P. 44270, Guadalajara, Jal, Mexico.


The production of aroma compounds during tequila fermentation using four native yeast strains isolated from agave juice was quantified at controlled (35 degrees C) and uncontrolled temperatures (room temperature) by gas chromatography (FID). Three of the four strains were identified as Saccharomyces cerevisiae (MTLI 1, MALI 1 and MGLI 1) and one as Kloeckera apiculata (MALI 2). Among the aroma compounds produced, acetaldehyde has the highest accumulation at the controlled temperature and before 50% of sugar was consumed. The S. cerevisiae strains produced ethyl acetate in almost the same quantity at a concentration of 5 mg/L and the K. apiculata produced six-times more (30 mg/L) than the S. cerevisiae strains, independent of the fermentation temperature. The rate and amount of 1-propanol, amyl alcohols and isobutanol production were affected by the type of yeast used. The K. apiculate strain produced 50% less of the higher alcohols than the Saccharomyces strains. The results obtained showed that indigenous isolated yeasts play an important role in the tequila flavor and suggest that mixtures of these yeasts may be used to produce tequila with a unique and desirable aroma.

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