Project: Model-guided evolution for balanced attenuation of wine ethanol content by developing non-GMO yeast strains and communities

Acronym CoolWine (Reference Number: 23)
Project Topic Biotechnological problem Increasing temperature in the European wine producing regions is having a negative impact on this key sector. Climate change results in a lack of balance between technological and phenolic ripening of wine grapes and, as a consequence, alcohol increase in wines. This trend is of great concern for the European wine industry because it has a negative impact on wine quality, becomes a hurdle for international trade, and jeopardizes compatibility of moderate wine consumption with a healthy lifestyle. CoolWine Strategy We propose a two-track strategy to reduce ethanol yield during wine fermentation (Figure1). Track 1: model-guided adaptive laboratory evolution of wine yeasts. Track 2: model-guided assembly of improved communities including S. cerevisiae as well as alternative yeast species. Scientific approach CSIC partner has previously successfully used microbial consortia and oxygenated fermentations to reduce ethanol content of wines. Currently, several companies and research groups are also trying to follow this path, thus endorsing the technological and commercial validity of the approach. Although the current results are encouraging, we have also identified some bottlenecks (e.g. increased acetate production that is harmful for wine quality, see TRL description for details). In order to overcome these hindrances, we will tackle both applied and basic scientific challenges. For developing improved wine yeasts through model-guided ALE, currently available metabolic models and computational tools will be improved in order to account for data concerning respiro-fementative balance and acetic acid production. Computational models will be further informed by experimental data from different yeast mutants. In terms of the community models, we will identify metabolic pathways to be positively or negatively selected for in each species during ALE. This will allow us to develop microbial consortia suitable for alcohol level reduction. The EvolveX algorithm (partner EMBL, patent filed in July 2016) will be used to design experimental conditions for ALE. For the design of yeast consortia and identification of target pathways to improve them we will integrate “omics” data to SMETANA. We will then run massive-scale ALE in order to explore a number of experimental conditions, and to cope with the stochastic nature of spontaneous genetic mutation. Excellence CoolWine will develop an innovative solution by using, improving, and extending to other species, the technology platform established under WineSys (an ongoing ERA-SysApp project). The CoolWine team spans scientific and industrial expertise in wine yeast physiology, metabolic modelling, “omics” analysis, massively parallel adaptive evolution, oenology, and social sciences. The team members have a successful track record of working together and are involved in several collaborative projects. Impact The companies involved in this project (Roda, Torres, and Agrovin) have clearly identified their consumers’ demand for solutions to high ERA CoBioTech alcohol content. Achievement of higher TRLs will be straightforward from the expected results of CoolWine. This is because the technological steps and scientific approaches used in the project are devised to be very close to the actual production. The strains and communities developed will be tested at commercially relevant level. Indeed, the contribution of Roda in WP5 will be decisive to reach relevant results. They have a strong position in their cognate sectors, and a long culture of research and innovation. Production of wines with reduced ethanol content using GMO-free solutions will strengthen the market position of European wines. We also expect CoolWine outcomes to contribute to healthier moderate wine consumption. To ensure the highest social impact for this project, we have included WP6. Results from this WP will help CoolWine partners modulate biotechnological targets, and develop a well-designed communication strategy.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
Website visit project website
Network ERA CoBioTech
Call ERA CoBioTech “Biotechnology for a sustainable bioeconomy”

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas Coordinator Spain
2 Universitat Rovira i Virgili Partner Spain
3 NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology Partner Norway
4 Bodegas Roda S.A. Partner Spain
5 University of Gothenburg Partner Sweden
6 European Molecular Biology Laboratory Partner Germany