We measured ability of some indigenous Saccharomyces bayanus var. uvarum wine yeasts to release volatile thiols from their S-cysteine conjugate precursors, odorous compounds responsible for the characteristic aroma of Sauvignon blanc wines. We also made interspecific hybrids between Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces bayanus var. uvarum strains and verified their hybrid origin with karyotypes and MET2 PCR-RFLP analysis. As compared to the parents, some hybrids could release high amounts of volatile thiols from the S-cysteine conjugate precursor without producing excessive amounts of β-phenylethyl alcohol and its acetate. One hybrid was retained for industrial production under a dry form and successfully compared with Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains in experimental tests in different cellars.
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