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IVES 9 IVES Conference Series 9 WAC 9 WAC 2022 9 3 - WAC - Oral 9 The wine microbial ecosystem: Molecular interactions between yeast species and evidence for higher order interactions

The wine microbial ecosystem: Molecular interactions between yeast species and evidence for higher order interactions


Fermenting grape juice represents one of the oldest continuously maintained anthropogenic microbial environments and supports a well-mapped microbial ecosystem. Several yeast and bacterial species dominate this ecosystem, and some of these species are part of the globally most studied and best understood individual organisms. Detailed physiological, cellular and molecular data have been generated on these individual species and have helped elucidate complex evolutionary processes such as the domestication of wine yeast strains of the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These data support the notion that the wine making environment represents an ecological niche of significant evolutionary relevance. Taken together, the data suggest that the wine fermentation ecosystem is an excellent model to study fundamental questions about the working of microbial ecosystems and on the impact of biotic selection pressures on microbial ecosystem functioning. Indeed, and although well mapped, the rules and molecular mechanisms that govern the interactions between microbial species within this, and other, ecosystems remain underexplored. Here we present data derived from several converging approaches, including microbiome data of spontaneous fermentations, the population dynamics of constructed consortia, the application of biotic selection pressures in directed laboratory evolution, and the physiological and molecular analysis of pairwise and higher order interactions between yeast species. The data reveal the importance of cell wall-related elements in interspecies interactions and in evolutionary adaptation and suggest that predictive modelling and biotechnological control of the wine ecosystem during fermentation are promising strategies for wine making in future.


Publication date: June 13, 2022

Issue: WAC 2022

Type: Article


Cleo Conacher, Florian F. Bauer, Natasha Luyt, Bryan K. Mundia, Mathabatha E. Setati, Debra Rossouw

Presenting author

Cleo Conacher | South African Grape and Wine Research Institute, Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University

South African Grape and Wine Research Institute, Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University

Contact the author


Fermentation ecosystem, dominant yeast species, interactions, consortia, gene expression


IVES Conference Series | WAC 2022


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