On cachaça's production, one of the intrinsic and essential steps for its quality is the fermentation of sugar cane juice, traditionally performed for yeasts from the same juice and also from the named "fermento caipira." The diversity and ecology of yeasts in this stage are very important to ensure greater control over the process and minimize possible organoleptic changes arising from microbial contamination during fermentation. Efforts have been made in recent years to contribute to the knowledge of the microbiota associated to the production process of cachaça, but this field is still underexplored. In this context, the present research project proposes a systematic study on the ecology and diversity of yeasts involved, using modern Molecular Biology techniques. On the other hand, its goal is also to characterize physiologically native Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains, as well as to select potential inocula to be used on larger scale fermentations, and therefore contributing positively to the organoleptic characteristics of the product. Finally, the present study aims are the contribution to the microbiological knowledge associated with the process, creation of a gene bank of native microorganisms, and with the selection of starter strains-which could represent a gain in quality for those artisan producers.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: