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High-glutathione producing yeasts obtained by genetic improvement strategies: a focus on adaptive evolution approaches for novel wine strains

Unimore Microbial Culture Collection (UMCC), Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy

Glutathione (GSH) is the most abundant non-protein thiol in living organisms. Due to its important antioxidant role, it is widely used in medicine, as a food additive, and in the cosmetic industry. Recently, GSH has received growing attention in winemaking because of its ability to control oxidative spoilage damage and to protect various aromatic compounds. Indeed, GSH concentration in wine is highly variable and several factors are involved in its regulation, ranging from grape must to yeast fermentation activity. This short review aims at highlighting the common genetic strategies, useful for obtaining wine yeasts with enhanced GSH production, paying particular attention to the adaptive evolution approaches. Moreover, other strategies, such as random mutagenesis, metabolic engineering and hybridization have been briefly reviewed with a stress on both their strengths and weaknesses in terms of actual feasibility and acceptance by wine consumers.
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