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Int J Food Microbiol. 2009 Jul 31;133(1-2):8-13. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2009.03.020. Epub 2009 Apr 5.

Determination of the essential nutrient requirements of wine-related bacteria from the genera Oenococcus and Lactobacillus.

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Department of Food Science, University of Guelph, Canada.


Wine lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are responsible for the malolactic fermentation (MLF) in wine production. Wine LAB have fastidious nutrient requirements but their auxotrophies remain little studied. The ability of specific wine nutrients to meet the nutritional requirements of wine LAB, and thus support MLF, remains unclear. This work investigated the essential growth requirements of four strains of wine LAB from the genera Oenococcus and Lactobacillus using the single omission technique with a suitable chemically defined medium. For the determination of auxotrophies, at least 3 (and up to 15) subcultures in deficient media were made, and intra- and extracellular nutrient carry over was reduced by small inoculation rates and washing cells 3 times between transfers. This careful methodology revealed more auxotrophies than those described for wine LAB in the literature. The essential bacterial nutrient requirements were found to be strain specific. 10 compounds were essential for all wine LAB tested, the carbon and phosphate source, manganese, as well as several amino acids (proline, arginine and the branched amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine) and vitamins (nicotinic acid and pantothenic acids). Nucleotides were not essential for any of the bacteria studied. The two Oenococcus oeni strains revealed a larger number of auxotrophies (18 and 21) and had a higher degree of nutritional similarity (86%) defined as percentage of common requirements per maximum total requirements. The two Lactobacillus strains only had 11 and 14 auxotrophies and the similarity was 79%, but both were auxotroph for riboflavin, which was not needed by the O. oeni strains. Data on the common requirements may be used to further study the ability of wines or commercial nutrients to support MLF and to consider the microbiological stability of finished wines. The results indicate that absence of riboflavin in oenological nutrient preparations may allow to create a specific advantage for indigenous or inoculated O. oeni, which are generally desired for MLF.

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