Killer yeasts present in musts may dominate wine fermentations initially inoculated with sensitive wine yeasts. Such contaminations can lead to the premature cessation of alcoholic fermentation, high volatile acidity, H2S production, and off-flavors caused by fusel oils, acetaldehyde, and lactic acid. All of these factors can result in serious financial losses to the wine industry. However, the use of killer yeasts as starter cultures in the wine industry to prevent growth of sensitive wild yeast strains has been proposed. In this review paper, the killer phenomenon in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is discussed with emphasis on the significance of K2 killer yeasts in winemaking. The seemingly conflicting reports on the interaction of killer and sensitive yeasts during grape must fermentations, are critically evaluated.
- Copyright 1992 by the American Society for Enology and Viticulture