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    Polyfunctional thiols like 3-sulfanylhexan-1-ol (3SH) and its ester 3-sulfanylhexyl acetate (3SHA) are important aroma determinants in wine with exceptionally low odor thresholds. 3SH is largely found in grape must bound to glutathione and cysteine and requires enzymatic action to be perceived sensorially. The wine yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is ineffective in releasing volatile thiols from their precursor configuration. For this purpose, a yeast strain was constructed that expresses the carbon-sulfur lyase encoding the tnaA gene from Escherichia coli and overexpresses its native alcohol acetyltransferase encoding genes, ATF1 and ATF2. The resulting yeast strain, which co-expresses tnaA and ATF1, showed elevated 3SH-releasing capabilities and the esterification of 3SH to its acetate ester 3SHA. Levels of over 7000 ng/L of 3SHA in Sauvignon blanc wines were achieved. Enhanced release and esterification of 3SH were also shown in the fermentation of guava and passionfruit pulp and three hop varieties. This study offers prospects for the development of flavor-enhancing yeast strains with optimized thiol-releasing and esterification capabilities in a diverse set of beverage matrices.


    Florian Kiene, Isak S Pretorius, Doris Rauhut, Christian von Wallbrunn, Niël van Wyk. Construction and Analysis of a Yeast for the Simultaneous Release and Esterification of the Varietal Thiol 3-Sulfanylhexan-1-ol. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2021 Oct 13;69(40):11919-11925

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    PMID: 34609136

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