Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 77, Issue 2, pp 329–337 | Cite as

Biochemical characterisation of the esterase activities of wine lactic acid bacteria

  • Angela Matthews
  • Paul R. Grbin
  • Vladimir JiranekEmail author
Biotechnologically Relevant Enzymes and Proteins


Esters are an important group of volatile compounds that can contribute to wine flavour. Wine lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been shown to produce esterases capable of hydrolysing ester substrates. This study aims to characterise the esterase activities of nine LAB strains under important wine conditions, namely, acidic conditions, low temperature (to 10°C) and in the presence of ethanol (2–18% v/v). Esterase substrate specificity was also examined using seven different ester substrates. The bacteria were generally found to have a broad pH activity range, with the majority of strains showing maximum activity close to pH 6.0. Exceptions included an Oenococcus oeni strain that retained most activity even down to a pH of 4.0. Most strains exhibited highest activity across the range 30–40°C. Increasing ethanol concentration stimulated activity in some of the strains. In particular, O. oeni showed an increase in activity up to a maximum ethanol concentration of around 16%. Generally, strains were found to have greater activity towards short-chained esters (C2–C8) compared to long-chained esters (C10–C18). Even though the optimal physicochemical conditions for enzyme activity differed from those found in wine, these findings are of potential importance to oenology because significant activities remained under wine-like conditions.


Esters Oenococcus Lactobacillus Pediococcus Hydrolysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Matthews
    • 1
  • Paul R. Grbin
    • 1
  • Vladimir Jiranek
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Agriculture, Food and WineThe University of AdelaideGlen OsmondAustralia

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