Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology

Improving flavor metabolism of Saccharomyces cerevisiae by mixed culture with Bacillus licheniformis for Chinese Maotai-flavor liquor making.

PMID 26323612


Microbial interactions could impact the metabolic behavior of microbes involved in food fermentation, and therefore they are important for improving food quality. This study investigated the effect of Bacillus licheniformis, the dominant bacteria in the fermentation process of Chinese Maotai-flavor liquor, on the metabolic activity of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Results indicated that S. cerevisiae inhibited the growth of B. licheniformis in all mixed culture systems and final viable cell count was lower than 20 cfu/mL. Although growth of S. cerevisiae was barely influenced by B. licheniformis, its metabolism was changed as initial inoculation ratio varied. The maximum ethanol productions were observed in S. cerevisiae and B. licheniformis at 10(6):10(7) and 10(6):10(8) ratios and have increased by 16.8 % compared with single culture of S. cerevisiae. According to flavor compounds, the culture ratio 10(6):10(6) showed the highest level of total concentrations of all different kinds of flavor compounds. Correlation analyses showed that 12 flavor compounds, including 4 fatty acids and their 2 corresponding esters, 1 terpene, and 5 aromatic compounds, that could only be produced by S. cerevisiae were significantly correlated with the initial inoculation amount of B. licheniformis. These metabolic changes in S. cerevisiae were not only a benefit for liquor aroma, but may also be related to its inhibition effect in mixed culture. This study could help to reveal the microbial interactions in Chinese liquor fermentation and provide guidance for optimal arrangement of mixed culture fermentation systems.