Evaluation of the ability of commercial wine yeasts to form biofilms (mats) and adhere to plastic: implications for the microbiota of the winery environment

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Commercially available active dried wine yeasts are regularly used by winemakers worldwide to achieve reliable fermentations and obtain quality wine. This practice has led to increased evidence of traces of commercial wine yeast in the vineyard, winery and uninoculated musts. The mechanism(s) that enables commercial wine yeast to persist in the winery environment and the influence to native microbial communities on this persistence is poorly understood. This study has investigated the ability of commercial wine yeasts to form biofilms and adhere to plastic. The results indicate that the biofilms formed by commercial yeasts consist of cells with a combination of different lifestyles (replicative and non-replicative) and growth modes including invasive growth, bud elongation, sporulation and a mat sectoring-like phenotype. Invasive growth was greatly enhanced on grape pulp regardless of strain, while adhesion on plastic varied between strains. The findings suggest a possible mechanism that allows commercial yeast to colonise and survive in the winery environment, which may have implications for the indigenous microbiota profile as well as the population profile in uninoculated fermentations if their dissemination is not controlled.

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