The use of malolactic starter cultures, often offer no guarantee of microbiological success due to the chemical and physical factors (pH, ethanol, SO2, nutrient availability) that occur during the winemaking process. This study was born with the aim of improving the performance of the lactic acid bacteria used as a starter culture in the de-acidification of wines. Two commercial strains of Oenococcus oeni, were used. Was evaluated the effect of exogenous l-proline added during the bacterial growth, on the improvement of their survival in the presence of different ethanol concentrations and their ability to degrade l-malic acid in synthetic wine with the presence of 12% (v/v) and 13% (v/v) of ethanol. The results showed that l-proline improve ethanol tolerance and so the malolactic performances of O. oeni. This work represents an important strategy to ensure good vitality and improve the performance of the malolactic starter.
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