Effect of temperature on microbial composition of starter culture for Chinese light aroma style liquor fermentation

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Abstract

Light aroma style liquor is one of the basic types of Chinese liquor and is produced with a special technique of using a combination of three types of Daqu as starter culture. The succession of incubation temperature, a main operating parameter, and microbial composition in Daqu were investigated during the manufacturing process. The most significant difference in temperature occurred during the middle stage at which the highest and the lowest temperatures were detected in Houhuo (HH) and Qingcha (QC), respectively. It was shown that for the counting data, the population of fungi was identical and that of bacteria was different between three types of Daqu. According to analysis results of microbial community structure using PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE), lactic acid bacteria were one of the dominant bacterial groups in all of Daqu and fungal diversity in QC was higher than that in HH and Hongxin (HX). The difference in incubation temperature led to the accumulation of different heat-tolerant and heat-sensitive fungi in the completed Daqu. PCA of DGGE profiles revealed that microbial community structure was distinct between three types of Daqu. It was presumed that temperature might play a decisive role in the formation of micro-organism composition in starter cultures.

Significance and Impact of the Study:

The usage of a combination of three types of Daqu including Qingcha, Hongxin and Houhuo as starter culture is an important characteristic of production technology of Chinese light aroma style liquor. Micro-organisms from the environment naturally inoculated in Daqu are propagated to form the special microbial community under the control of several operating parameters, especially temperature, and finally play various roles in the fermentation process of liquor. An in-depth study of the relationship between incubation temperature and microbiota in Daqu during the manufacturing is fundamental to understand this complicated process and to prepare high-quality starter culture for fermentation.

Significance and Impact of the Study: The usage of a combination of three types of Daqu including Qingcha, Hongxin and Houhuo as starter culture is an important characteristic of production technology of Chinese light aroma style liquor. Micro-organisms from the environment naturally inoculated in Daqu are propagated to form the special microbial community under the control of several operating parameters, especially temperature, and finally play various roles in the fermentation process of liquor. An in-depth study of the relationship between incubation temperature and microbiota in Daqu during the manufacturing is fundamental to understand this complicated process and to prepare high-quality starter culture for fermentation.

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