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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 540465, 13 pages
Research Article

Characterization and Dynamic Behavior of Wild Yeast during Spontaneous Wine Fermentation in Steel Tanks and Amphorae

1Molecular Biology Division, Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, 57392 Schmallenberg, Germany
2Facultad de Ingeniería y Tecnología, Universidad San Sebastián, 4030000 Concepcion, Chile

Received 22 January 2013; Revised 28 March 2013; Accepted 9 April 2013

Academic Editor: George Tsiamis

Copyright © 2013 Cecilia Díaz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We studied the dynamic behavior of wild yeasts during spontaneous wine fermentation at a winery in the Valais region of Switzerland. Wild yeasts in the winery environment were characterized using a PCR-RFLP method. Up to 11 different yeast species were isolated from the vineyard air, whereas only seven were recovered from the grapes surface. We initially investigated a cultureindependent method in pilot-scale steel fermentation tanks and found a greater diversity of yeasts in the musts from two red grape varieties compared to three white grape varieties. We found that the yeasts Metschnikowia pulcherrima, Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, Pichia kluyveri, P. membranifaciens and Saccharomyces cerevisiae remained active at the end of the fermentation. We also studied the dynamic behavior of yeasts in Qvevris for the first time using a novel, highlysensitive quantitative real-time PCR method. We found that non-Saccharomyces yeasts were present during the entire fermentation process, with R. mucilaginosa and P. anomala the most prominent species. We studied the relationship between the predominance of different species and the output of the fermentation process. We identified so-called spoilage yeasts in all the fermentations, but high levels of acetic acid accumulated only in those fermentations with an extended lag phase.