Understanding Brettanomyces and its adaptation to control measures
Brettanomyces yeast cause wine spoilage by producing 4-ethylphenol and 4-ethylguiacol which are responsible for ‘phenolic’, ‘leather’, ‘sweaty’ and ‘medicinal’ aromas (collectively known as ‘Brett’ character). Previous research has shown that it is possible for sulfite-resistant Brettanomyces strains to evolve and develop even greater levels of sulfite tolerance, although the genetic basis for this adaptive response remains to be determined. New molecular tools, including genetic transformation and gene knockout technology now provide a powerful means to assist in the understanding of the evolution of Brettanomyces both in the laboratory and in the field.
This project will extend the results of previous work by combining a new field survey of Brettanomyces, with detailed molecular analysis of the genes responsible for resistance to sulfite and the production of the key sensory compounds responsible for Brettanomyces spoilage character.
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