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Completed Projects

Presentation and attendance at the 14th International Congress on Yeasts, Awaji Island and a laboratory visit at the Nihon University, Japan September 2016

  • Date Completed: 2016-12-01
  • Project Supervisor: Tek, Ee Lin

Ee Lin Tek presented an oral presentation titled 'Formation and regulation of wine yeast biofilms (mats) in nitrogen-limiting conditions' at the 14th International Congress on Yeasts in Awaji Island, Japan. EL Tek also presented a poster with the same title. Participating in the conference broadened EL’s knowledge on the wide applications of yeast on fermentation technology and the current yeast research interests, breakthroughs and issues. While in Japan, EL made a visit to the research laboratories A/Prof Tatsuya Maeda at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, The University of Tokyo. His research focuses on nitrogen-responsive signalling pathway in yeast. This travel also enabled network establishment.

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Identifying further opportunities and strategies for further strain optimisation: attendance of 14th International Conference on Yeasts (Awaji Is. Hyogo, Japan)

  • Date Completed: 2016-12-01
  • Project Supervisor: Walker, Dr Michelle

An AGWA travel award enabled the attendance of Dr Michelle Walker at the 14th International Congress on Yeasts held at Awaji Yumebutai, Hyogo Prefecture in Japan (11-15 September 2016). This congress, held every four years, attracted some 440 academic and industry delegates from about 40 countries, and included several reputable international speakers. The conference explored different yeast(s) and their genetics, synthetic biology and their application in the production of alcoholic beverages, and biotechnology (biofuel/high value products). The conference provided opportunities to meet informally with other researchers in related areas of yeast research.  Student participation was actively encouraged through sponsorship by the conference organisers and The Carl Singer Foundation. Students awarded scholarships gave short talks (as well as poster presentations) on their research. An oral presentation (and poster) entitled ‘Mapping of genes responsible for yeast-derived modulation of colour in model red wine’ was given. A visit was undertaken to the research laboratories of Professor Hiroshiri Takagi (Nara Institute of Science and Technology). His research on how proline protects yeast from alcoholic stress during fermentation is of particular interest, as improved use of this nitrogen source in juice has been a long standing interest of our group.

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Evaluating non-conventional yeast for the production of wines that contain less ethanol

  • Date Completed: 2016-06-30
  • Project Supervisor: Varela, Dr Cristian

There is growing interest from winemakers in being able to produce wines with lower ethanol content that do not have compromised aroma, flavour, and mouth-feel. There are opportunities across the value chain to implement strategies to achieve this, including viticultural practices, pre-fermentation and winemaking practices, microbiological strategies and post-fermentation practices and processing technologies (Varela et al. 2015). However, the application of yeast strains that produce less ethanol during fermentation remains a simple and cheap strategy for producers to adopt towards this goal. Unfortunately, all available commercial S. cerevisiae wine yeasts are very similar in terms of ethanol yield; a difference of 0.5% v/v has been observed between ‘high’ and ‘low’ ethanol producers (Palacios et al. 2007; Varela et al. 2008). In order to reduce ethanol concentration, novel yeast need to be isolated or generated.

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Identifying wine relevant genetic markers in wine bacteria to isolate robust MLF strains

  • Date Completed: 2015-12-30
  • Project Supervisor: Bartowsky, Dr Eveline

Over 150 Australian isolates of malolactic fermentation bacteria, collected over decades and housed in the AWRI Culture Collection (AWRI CC), were characterised by genomic (DNA) sequencing. A subgroup of these, of known provenance, was screened for tolerance to stresses encountered when grown in wine. This enabled the identification of strains with strong performance characteristics, the most promising of which will be trialled in future research at larger scale winemaking. In addition, genetic markers for stress tolerant traits have been identified. This will facilitate rapid screening of the AWRI CC to isolate candidate strains with desirable characteristics, suited to Australian winemaking conditions.

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Incubator initiative: Mapping of genes responsible for yeast-derived modulation of colour in model red wine

  • Date Completed: 2015-06-30
  • Project Supervisor: Liccioli, Dr Tommaso

Yeast influences the development of red wine colour during winemaking and its stability during bottling and storage. Thus, understanding the yeast genetic mechanisms regulating such phenomena will contribute to consistent wine quality. A sequenced set of 96 progeny derived from a genetic cross of two commercial wine strains was used to unravel the genetic basis of yeast-derived colour modulation of model red wine. Colour differences have been genetically linked by Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) mapping to regions of chromosomes 8 and 15. Further work is required to characterise the identified genes which may modulate wine colour through the adsorption of red pigment on yeast biomass.

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Continuous Improvement (CI) and its application to Australian Viticulture – The study of CI management philosophies and their value in Australian viticulture

  • Date Completed: 2013-09-30
  • Project Supervisor: Sharman, Mr Stuart

The objective of this report is to explore the use of Cl management philosophies, within the global viticultural and agricultural scene and to determine the effectiveness of these approaches and its suitability to Australian viticultural management. This objective will be achieved by observing primary producers actively using Cl management techniques and by observing other sectors of the economy using Cl. Other sectors of the economy will be observed to understand successful adoption strategies that are applicable to Australian viticulture. Recordings of the observations will be reviewed with reference to Australian viticultural practices and practical recommendations will be conveyed to the reader with examples and recommendations suitable to Australian viticulture.

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Attendance and oral presentation at the 2014 Society for Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology meeting

  • Date Completed: 2014-07-27
  • Project Supervisor: Liccioli, Dr Tommaso

Dr. Tommaso Liccioli, is a research associate at the University of Adelaide (UoA), Department of Wine Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology (WMMB), who currently works on a Wine Australia funded project named “Fit-for-Purpose Yeast and Bacteria via Direct Evolution” (UA 1302). Dr. Liccioli attended the 2014 Meeting of the Society of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology in St Louis, MO (USA). This year attendance was of 600 and more scientists and industry related people from all around the world. Dr. Liccioli was invited to give an oral presentation on a topic he has been working and specialized over the past few years: scaling up fermentations volume for successful deployment of novel yeast strains to the wine industry. The conference committee invited Dr. Liccioli after reading one of his publications named “Microvinification – How small can we go?”. This article was written as result of a previous Wine Australia funded project (UA 05/05). During the conference, Dr. Liccioli delivered a 30 minutes talk entitled: “Hide and seek: improved microbial strains vs. scientists”. His talk generated high interest amongst the audience and Dr. Liccioli had the opportunity to discuss his research and many other related topics with several delegates during the conference.

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Innovative Microbials for Winemaking Excellence

  • Date Completed: 2013-06-30
  • Project Supervisor: Jiranek, A/Prof Vladimir

In response to winemaker surveys that highlighted the ongoing burden of fermentation difficulties, the Jiranek group undertook an 18-month project to capture earlier research outputs, with the aim of producing superior yeast and bacteria, application protocols and fundamental knowledge to improve both.

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Attendance and poster presentation at the Metabolomics Society Conference 2011

  • Date Completed: 2011-12-30
  • Project Supervisor: Jiranek, Vladimir

The 7th International Conference of the Metabolomics Society was held in Cairns Australia between the 27th and the 30th of June 2011 and attracted more than 200 delegates from more than 24 countries. The focus of these meetings is not only how to apply metabolomics as an analytical technique, including data interpretation but importantly as a showcase of exciting research using metabolomics as a tool from a myriad of fields.

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