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An ecological study of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains in spontaneous alcoholic fermentation has been conducted in the same winery for two consecutive years (1994 and 1995). Yeast cells were identified and characterized using mitochondrial DNA restriction analysis. Although a great diversity of wild strains was observed, a sequential substitution of S. cerevisiae strains during the different phases of fermentation was detected. Furthermore, the most frequent strains were encountered in both years, and the dynamic populations were not influenced by climatic conditions. Finally, the RsaI restriction enzyme produced a species-specific pattern which allowed the identification of all the isolates as S. cerevisiae.