AWRI is growing its microorganism culture collection

The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) wants your yeast and bacteria strains to help continue to grow its collection of wine microorganism cultures and build a resource that reflects the genetic diversity of Australian wine.

AWRI Senior Research Microbiologist Eveline Bartowsky said the collection is now more than 50 years old, and encompasses over 3,000 wine-relevant yeast and bacteria strains, including wine isolates, reference strains and research strains.

Dr Bartowsky said there were a number of reasons why this collection was particularly important to the Australian wine industry.

‘It contains historical strains representing the genetic biodiversity of Australian yeast and bacterial isolates; and can be mined to identify yeast and bacterial strains that have novel characteristics of importance to winemakers’, she said.

‘It allows for the industry to store their strains in a safe and secure place’.

And, it’s currently being used for a number of important ongoing research projects on bacteria and MLF, Brettanomyces and yeast nutrition. It’s also a secure repository for new strains being generated in GWRDC funded projects at AWRI and elsewhere.

‘We would like to see the industry use the storage aspect of the Collection more’, Dr Bartwowsky said.

‘Winemakers can store their own collection of yeast and bacteria strains, trial experimental yeast strains, source strains for winemaking and reference strains for quality control aspects of their business.

‘Any number of strains can be deposited; one strain, many or hundreds.  In fact it would be great if more are deposited because it builds up the genetic diversity of wine yeast and bacteria, which can then be mined to find that particular strain with a specific feature’, she said.

There are also a number of strains that are available for the industry to use, including many strains for ‘niche winemaking’, e.g. flor yeast, sherry styles, vinegar, etc. Dr Bartowsky said.

More information about how to deposit strains into the AWRI Collection is available on the AWRI website.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae 400x magnification -  one of more than 3000 unique yeast and bacteria strains that form AWRI’s mircroorganism culture collection
Saccharomyces cerevisiae 400x magnification - one of more than 3000 unique yeast and bacteria strains that form AWRI’s mircroorganism culture collection