Brettanomyces bruxellensis is a catalyst in the transformation of hydroxycinnamic acids, compounds that naturally occur in grapes, producing volatile phenols that reduce the sensory quality of wine. Depending on their concentrations, volatile phenols can confer off-odors described as phenolic, animal, mousy, wet wool, medicinal, smoky, and spicy. We used a multidisciplinary approach for the detection and quantification of the presence of B. bruxellensis in 87 Italian wines, applying culture-independent and dependent methods (quantitative PCR and traditional microbiological analysis, respectively). Headspace solid-phase microextraction was used to quantify ethylphenols and vinylphenols. Results showed that there was no correlation between culture-dependent and culture-independent methods. Strain biodiversity was investigated by SAU-PCR and showed a differentiation of the isolates based on geographical origin.
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