Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Oenology and Biotechnology - Do we research?



The Wine Biotechnology research group (2017 SGR 267) is currently composed of two lines of research "Yeasts and alcoholic fermentation" and "Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and malolactic fermentation". These research lines are focused on the study of the main microorganisms involved in wine fermentation, yeasts (both Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Non-Saccharomyces) and lactic acid bacteria (especially Oenococcus oeni), responsible respectively for alcoholic fermentation and malolactic fermentation of wines. The research line focused on yeasts investigates topics as diverse as the yeast nitrogen nutrition, adaptation of yeasts to climate change conditions, production of bioactive compounds or interactions between yeasts of different species. The research line focused on lactic acid bacteria analyzes the interactions between bacteria and yeasts, the response of lactic acid bacteria to the stress produced by ethanol and also the ecology and biotechnological potential of lactic acid bacteria in other fermented foods, as table olives. For many years, the group had another active line of research focused on acetic bacteria and its role on vinegar and other seasonings. For these studies, we use biochemical and molecular techniques, including those of systems biology such as genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics. We also study the biodiversity of vinification-related environments using high-throughput sequencing technologies.

For more information, consult the group's website https://oenobiotech.blogspot.com

The Applied Oenology research group (2017 SGR 612) arises from the fusion of the Oenological Technology and Microbial Food Biotechnology groups, which give their name to the two research lines of this group in the doctoral program. The Enological Technology group has focused on the study of different aspects of the wine and cava production, such as color stability, regulation of polyphenol, colloid and protein content in wines and their effect on the foam in cava, as well as, chemical and sensory analysis of wines. In recent years, the research has also focused on the study of the interactions between tannins and salivary proteins as a point for the study of the factors that affect the red wine astringency of red. In recent times, they have also approached the study of composition and functionalities of oenological tannins and therefore, their real applicability in winemaking. On the other hand, the Microbial Food Biotechnology group has mainly focused on the study of physiological and molecular responses of wine yeasts for a better adaptation and development in the difficult conditions that represent both grape must and wine, as well as, on the integration of routes responsible for the production of valuable compounds through genetic and metabolic engineering in appropriate microorganisms, reducing the production costs of the natural compound. Therefore, the activity lines are * Fermentation at low temperatures. Second fermentation and stuck fermentations, * Lipid composition of wine yeasts. Dehydration and rehydration of wine yeasts, * Use of Non-Saccharomyces yeasts.

The Instrumental Sensometry i-Sens group (formerly the Oenological and Food Analytical Chemistry group) constitutes one of the two axes on which the Food Sensometry and Engineering Group (FoodSE) (2017 SGR 1553) is based. The research carried out by i-Sens focuses on the development and validation of analytical methods to control and improve the quality of wines and other foods following two guidelines. The first -the classic one- focuses on the development of chromatographic methods for the aromatic characterization of foods by means of gas chromatography with olfactory detection (GCO), as well as for the identification and quantification of other compounds using other detectors. The second research line -the most recent one- is the development and application of fast techniques to determine different agri-food parameters. In a first phase, we worked with these techniques to establish an objective methodology to define the organoleptic characteristics of different foods. From the good results obtained and taking into account the sector requirements, the i-Sens group is currently working with these techniques in the development of process analytical tools (PAT). Thus, following the PAT philosophy, our actual aim is focused on the incorporation of the final product quality in the design of the whole process instead of on the final product.

For more information, consult the group's website http://www.isens.urv.cat/ca/

The research group in Food Technology, currently included within the MEtA group (Materials Engineering and their Applications; 2017 SGR 1516), has been working in aspects of food engineering, especially focused on wines, vinegars and distillates. The research group work deals with the optimization of the processes, especially filtration and discoloration and the change from discontinuous processes to continuous processes.

The research group in Mycology and Environmental Microbiology (2017 SGR 345) is the most powerful group in Spain (and probably one of the most important in Europe) in taxonomy of micromycete fungi, mainly of clinical origin, and also has extensive experience in research on biodiversity and the application of fungi in biotechnology and viticultural mycology.