Pectinolytic activities in yeast: genetic, enzymatic and metabolic diversity

Academic partners: Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany; INRA, Montpellier, France
Industry Partner: Organobalance, Berlin, Germany

Pectin consists of a complex set of polysaccharides that are present in most primary cell walls and are particularly abundant in fruits. During fruit ripening, pectin is broken down by pectinolytic enzymes and the fruit juice is released. In industrial fermentations, this process is supported by microbial pectinolytic enzymes. Certain non-S. cerevisiae strains have been reported to display pectinolytic activities, which is of great industrial interest e.g. in wine making and cocoa production. Strains will be screened on industrially relevant substrates and the pectinolytic activities of superior yeast strains characterised in more detail. Selected strains will be characterised in wine fermentations. The impact of these strains will be assessed on wine astringency, stability, turbidity and filtrability. The genomic DNA of superior strains will be subjected to whole-genome sequencing and bioinformatic analysis will be conducted to search for Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes (CAZYmes). These data will be integrated to the enzymatic data to identify the basis of the phenotypes.