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Bioresour Technol. 2008 May;99(8):2857-63. Epub 2007 Aug 13.

Development of alcoholic and malolactic fermentations in highly acidic and phenolic apple musts.

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Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, University of the Basque Country, Manuel Lardizabal 3, 20018 Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain.


This work reports the influence of the high acidity and high phenolic content in apple musts on the development of alcoholic and malolactic fermentations and on the final chemical and microbiological composition of the ciders. Four different musts were obtained by pressing several varieties and proportions of cider apples from the Basque Country (Northern Spain). Specially acidic and phenolic varieties were selected. Three musts were obtained in experimental stations and the fourth one, in a cider factory following usual procedures. The evolution of these musts was monitored during five months by measuring 18 parameters throughout eight samplings. In the most acidic of the three experimental musts, yeasts were added to complete the alcoholic fermentation. In the rest of the musts, alcoholic and malolactic fermentations took place spontaneously due to natural microflora and no chemical was added to control these processes. Malolactic fermentation (MLF) finished before alcoholic fermentation in the three tanks obtained in experimental stations, even in the most acidic and phenolic one (pH 3.18, 1.78 g tannic acid/l). After four months, these ciders maintained low levels of lactic acid bacteria (10(4)CFU/ml) and low content of acetic acid (<0.60 g/l). Both fermentations began simultaneously in the must obtained in the cider factory, but MLF finished 10 days after alcoholic fermentation. Subsequently, this must maintained a high population of lactic acid bacteria (>10(6)CFU/ml), causing a higher production of acetic acid (>1.00 g/l) than in the other ciders. These results show the possible advantages of MLF finishing before alcoholic fermentation.

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