Terpenes are important contributors to wine aroma. Free and glycosidically bound terpenes are primarily formed in grapes. During fermentation, they undergo important transformation catalyzed by yeast, so that the terpene profile of grape is substantially different from that of the corresponding wine. The present paper assessed the ability of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain to transform 17 different terpenes. Biotransformation was performed by placing target compounds in incubation with resting cells. Volatile compounds produced were extracted by solid-phase extraction and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Geranyl acetate, neryl acetate, citronellyl acetate, and menthyl acetate were formed from the corresponding terpene alcohols. β-Citronellol was the main product of geraniol transformation; geranial, an intermediate of this pathway, has also been detected. Limonene was hydroxylated by yeast to form carveol, trans-2,8-menthadien-1-ol, and cis-2,8-menthadien-1-ol. Moreover, yeast cells were found to be able to adsorb a significant portion of the terpenes present in the reaction batches, with the extent of this phenomenon being linked to terpene hydrophobicity.
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