Yeasts in an industrial malting ecosystem

Arja Laitila (Corresponding Author), Annika Wilhelmson, Erja Kotaviita, Juhani Olkku, Silja Home, Riikka Juvonen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    62 Citations (Scopus)


    The malting ecosystem consists of two components: the germinating cereal grains and the complex microbial community. Yeasts and yeast-like fungi are an important part of this ecosystem, but the composition and the effects of this microbial group have been largely unknown. In this study we surveyed the development of yeasts and yeast-like fungi in four industrial scale malting processes. A total of 136 malting process samples were collected and examined for the presence of yeasts growing at 15, 25 and 37°C. More than 700 colonies were isolated and characterized. The isolates were discriminated by PCR-fingerprinting with microsatellite primer (M13). Yeasts representing different fingerprint types were identified by sequence analysis of the D1/D2 domain of the 26S rRNA gene. Furthermore, identified yeasts were screened for the production of α-amylase, β-glucanase, cellulase and xylanase. A numerous and diverse yeast community consisting of both ascomycetous (25) and basidiomycetous (18) species was detected in the various stages of the malting process. The most frequently isolated ascomycetous yeasts belonged to the genera Candida, Clavispora, Galactomyces, Hanseniaspora, Issatchenkia, Pichia, Saccharomyces and Williopsis and the basidiomycetous yeasts to Bulleromyces, Filobasidium, Cryptococcus, Rhodotorula, Sporobolomyces and Trichosporon. In addition, two ascomycetous yeast-like fungi (black yeasts) belonging to the genera Aureobasidium and Exophiala were commonly detected. Yeasts and yeast-like fungi produced extracellular hydrolytic enzymes with a potentially positive contribution to the malt enzyme spectrum. Knowledge of the microbial diversity provides a basis for microflora management and understanding of the role of microbes in the cereal germination process.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)953-966
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of industrial microbiology and biotechnology
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Barley
    • Malting
    • yeasts
    • Diversity
    • Enzymes


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