Light-flavour Baijiu is a type of Chinese liquor with a pure and mild flavour produced by traditional spontaneous solid-state fermentation. The flavour of this liquor has been found to vary in the different periods of annual production. To explore the factors affecting flavour, the microbiota of the surrounding environment, starter and fermentation process in different periods were investigated. Results showed that the ester content and acidity of light-flavour Baijiu were significantly lower when annual production was resumed after a summer break. HCA plot of volatile flavour profile and bacterial PCoA results indicated that the differences occurred at later stages, mainly due to different structures of Lactobacillus. Correlation analysis by O2PLS indicated that Lactobacillus positively correlated with esters. Species-level analysis showed that the lack of L. acetotolerans on the surface of the jar might cause a lag in fermentation and lower ester content. Thereafter, L. acetotolerans was revived during fermentation and enriched on the surface of the jar, which promoted ester formation. As important sources of L. acetotolerans, the air and fermentation jars played a critical role during fermentation. Therefore, this systematic study on environmental microbial ecology is valuable for quality control and to explore environmental microbiota functions during spontaneous fermentation.
Scientific Reports – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 21, 2018
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