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J Appl Microbiol. 2011 Aug;111(2):360-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2011.05052.x. Epub 2011 May 31.

Wine phenolic compounds influence the production of volatile phenols by wine-related lactic acid bacteria.

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CBQF/Escola Superior de Biotecnologia - Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto, Portugal.



To evaluate the effect of wine phenolic compounds on the production of volatile phenols (4-vinylphenol [4VP] and 4-ethylphenol [4EP]) from the metabolism of p-coumaric acid by lactic acid bacteria (LAB).


Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus collinoides and Pediococcus pentosaceus were grown in MRS medium supplemented with p-coumaric acid, in the presence of different phenolic compounds: nonflavonoids (hydroxycinnamic and benzoic acids) and flavonoids (flavonols and flavanols). The inducibility of the enzymes involved in the p-coumaric acid metabolism was studied in resting cells. The hydroxycinnamic acids tested stimulated the capacity of LAB to synthesize volatile phenols. Growth in the presence of hydroxycinnamic acids, especially caffeic acid, induced the production of 4VP by resting cells. The hydroxybenzoic acids did not significantly affect the behaviour of the studied strains. Some of the flavonoids showed an effect on the production of volatile phenols, although strongly dependent on the bacterial species. Relatively high concentrations (1 g l(-1) ) of tannins inhibited the synthesis of 4VP by Lact. plantarum.


Hydroxycinnamic acids were the main compounds stimulating the production of volatile phenols by LAB. The results suggest that caffeic and ferulic acids induce the synthesis of the cinnamate decarboxylase involved in the metabolism of p-coumaric acid. On the other hand, tannins exert an inhibitory effect.


This study highlights the capacity of LAB to produce volatile phenols and that this activity is markedly influenced by the phenolic composition of the medium.

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