MicroWineLab: Wine yeasts metabolism, genetics, and biotechnology

Group members: 
Ramón González García: 
Profesor de Investigación del CSIC
Pilar Morales Calvo: 
Científico Titular del CSIC
Cristina Juez Ojeda: 
Ayudante de Investigación de OPIs (CSIC)
Laura López Berges: 
Técnica contratada (para línea de investigación)
Ana Perea Martínez: 
Titulada Superior contratada (para línea de investigación)
Miguel Mejías Ortiz: 
Investigador en Formación (Agencia Estatal de Investigación)
Wine yeasts metabolism, genetics, and biotechnology (Microwine)
Summary of the research activity

We are interested in the biology of yeasts, both of the genus Saccharomyces and alternative genera, paying attention to the most relevant aspects for their biotechnological use in oenology.

Most of the group's activity in recent years is grouped around two main lines of research. The first is the study of the interactions between different starter cultures (mainly between S. cerevisiae and non-Saccharomyces yeasts) during alcoholic fermentation. The other line of work deals with the development of systems to reduce the alcohol content of wines by using various tools derived from systems biology to reduce the alcohol yield of yeast metabolism.

In the first line we have been able to show some direct interactions between yeasts of different species, and we are also exploring, in a pioneering work, the involvement of extracellular vesicles produced by oenological yeasts and lactic acid bacteria in these interactions. In addition to bioreactor technology, and the purification of extracellular vesicle-enriched fractions, we make extensive use of transcriptomics and proteomics tools in this line. We have recently shown that extracellular vesicles from Metschnikowia pulcherrima are able to induce in S. cerevisiae a transcriptional response almost identical to that induced by living cells. For alcohol reduction, we explore both yeast respiratory metabolism and other alternatives, and both natural isolates and experimental evolution in the laboratory as a genetic improvement tool compatible with the immediate industrial application of the developed strains. We have developed several patents and contracts with companies in this line.

Also in collaboration with companies, we have developed new yeast strains that meet different oenological objectives. Random mutagenesis and experimental evolution are the two main tools we use in this line of work.

Direct access to all group publications (In SCI journals)

Most recent relevant publications

Mejias-Ortiz, M., Mencher, A., Morales, P., Tronchoni, J., Gonzalez, R. (2023) Saccharomyces cerevisiae responds similarly to co-culture or to a fraction enriched in Metschnikowia pulcherrima extracellular vesicles. Microb. Biotechnol. DOI: 10.1111/1751-7915.14240

Mencher, A., Mejias-Ortiz, M., Morales, P., Tronchoni, J., Gonzalez, R. (2022) Protein content of the Oenococcus oeni extracellular-vesicles enriched fraction. Food Microb. 106: 104038. DOI: 10.1016/

Tronchoni, J., Gonzalez, R., Guindal, A., Calleja, E., Morales, P. (2022) Exploring the suitability of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains for winemaking under aerobic conditions. Food Microb. 101: 103893. DOI: 10.1016/

Gonzalez, R., Morales, P. (2022) Truth in wine yeast. Microb. Biotechnol. 15: 1339-1356. DOI:10.1111/1751-7915.13848

Mencher, A., Morales, P., Curiel, J. A., Gonzalez, R., Tronchoni, J. (2021) Metschnikowia pulcherrima represses aerobic respiration in Saccharomyces cerevisiae suggesting a direct response to co-cultivation. Food Microbiology, 94: 103670 DOI:10.1016/

Morales, P., Mencher, A., Tronchoni, J., Gonzalez, R. (2021) Extracellular vesicles in food biotechnology. Microb. Biotechnol. 14: 8-11 DOI:10.1111/1751-7915.13657

Mencher, A., Morales, P., Tronchoni, J., Gonzalez, R. (2021) Mechanisms involved in interspecific communication between wine yeasts. Foods 10: 1734. DOI:10.3390/foods10081734

Mencher, A., Morales, P., Valero, E., Tronchoni, J., Patil, K.R., Gonzalez, R. (2020) Proteomic characterization of extracellular vesicles produced by several wine yeast species. Microb. Biotechnol. 13: 1581-1596 DOI:10.1111/1751-7915.13614

Curiel, J.A., Morales, P., Gonzalez, R., Tronchoni, J. (2017) Different non-Saccharomyces yeast species stimulate nutrient consumption in S. cerevisiae mixed cultures. Front. Microbiol. 8: 2121 DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02121

Tronchoni, J., Curiel, J. A., Morales, P., Torres-Pérez, R., Gonzalez, R. (2017) Early transcriptional response to biotic stress in mixed starter fermentations involving Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Torulaspora delbrueckii. Int. J. Food Microbiol. 241: 60-68 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2016.10.017