The lysozyme of hen's egg white is used in winemaking to control spontaneous lactic acid bacteria (LAB). A total of eight LAB strains, isolated from grape must and wine, were used to assess the inhibitory effects of wine phenolics on lysozyme activity. The presence of phenolics, extracted from grape pomace, in growth medium reduced the mortality rate due to the lysozyme activity. This effect was especially clear in the case of strains belonging to Lactobacillus uvarum, Pediococcus parvulus and Oenococccus oeni, which are more sensitive to lysozyme than L. plantarum and L. hilgardii strains. Cell lysis assays carried out on four strains sensitive to lysozyme and Micrococcus lysodeikticus ATCC 4698, used as a reference strain, confirmed the inhibition of grape pomace phenolics on the muramidase. There was no interference from non-flavonoids, flavanols and flavonol compounds, when they were tested individually, on the lysozyme activity against the strains. Anthocyanins extracted from grape skins slightly inhibited the activity only against M. lysodeikticus. However, proanthocyanidins extracted from seed berries, strongly inhibited the lysozyme. In this extract, dimers were the predominant oligomers of flavan-3-ol. The study demonstrated that the effectiveness of lysozyme against LAB in red winemaking is related to the amount of low molecular weight proanthocyanidins that are released when the grapes are macerating.
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