Starmerella bacillaris has been proposed as a potential non-Saccharomyces species candidate to be used in mixed fermentations with Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the production of wine. Among the prospective applications, reduction of ethanol content, but also reduction in the acetic acid produced from high sugar musts, have attracted particular attention. In this study, we sought to describe the fermentation behavior of 6 strains of S. bacillaris in grape must with varying initial sugar concentration that ranged from 200 to 330 g/L. Further, time (days of fermentation) was a second variable that was monitored for its influence on fermentation. A response surface methodology was then employed to model the behavior of the strains. The six strains generally behaved uniformly. Residual sugar concentration as well as ethanol, glycerol and acetic acid production mainly depended on time. Residual glucose also partly depended on initial sugar concentration being higher when musts with higher initial sugar concentration were used. Similarly, malic acid consumption showed a dependence on both time and sugar concentration and was inhibited in higher sugar musts. The behavior of S. bacillaris strains can be considered compatible with enological practices that could involve mixed fermentation with S. cerevisiae.
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