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Development of a method to obtain yeasts with superior performance for fermentation of high density musts in the production of beverages

Abstract

Energy saving, space and operational time are among the main challenges for many industries that use bioprocesses, including different segments of fermented and distilled beverage production. The use of the high-gravity (HG) and very-high gravity (VHG) fermentation strategy started in the 80-90s, both for the production of beverages and ethanol, mainly with energy, economic, environmental and innovation appeals. The challenge of those types of fermentation lies in the tolerance and ability of the yeasts employed, since several stressful conditions - high osmotic pressure and ethanol toxicity - will be considerably higher. In view of this, some studies have already directed efforts towards obtaining more adapted strains and with better fermentative performances in these conditions. For that, the main strategies utilized include the generation of biodiversity induced by mutations, followed by selection of the obtained variant strains. Such approaches, although efficient and resulting in obtaining tolerant strains, with good performance in HG and VHG fermentations, are laborious, costly and of long lasting, because it is necessary to first generate the variant strains and then carry out the selection process. In the search for suitable yeasts, other studies denote the potential for exploitation of the native microbiota found in different bioprocesses for application in the production of special drinks, of which some have focused on selecting strains for HG and VHG fermentations. In the present project, the main proposal is to develop a quick yeast screening method with multiple tolerance characteristics to be applied in fermentations with different types of high gravity wort for the production of beverages. This is the main differential point of the other works developed so far. This is particularly important when considering that when prospecting yeasts in different environments, a large number of isolates are obtained to be evaluated. In this way, using a quick molecular identification methodology and also for the preliminary selection can contribute to lower the costs involved in providing this type of service. In addition, prospecting yeasts in different fermentative bioprocesses is a strategy that has shown to be very promising. This emphasizes the biodiversity existing within the species S. cerevisiae, what means that native strains naturally adapted probably have great potential for application in processes in which there will be several stress agents in common to the environment from which it was isolated. (AU)

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