The yeast communities colonising grape berry surfaces were evaluated for the influence of fungicide treatments in an organic vineyard (copper/sulphur-based products) and a conventional vineyard (commonly used fungicides). Analysis of yeast abundance and diversity was carried out on grape berries and juice during fermentation, using culture-dependent and -independent approaches. Yeast abundance was as generally reported for mature grapes and it was slight higher from grapes treated with conventional fungicides. Initial grape samples showed less yeast species diversity in the organic vineyard compared with the conventional one. In both vineyards, the dominant yeast were Candida zemplinina and Hanseniaspora uvarum (>50%), respectively, typical species that colonise surfaces of mature grape berries. Metschnikowia pulcherrima was widely found in the conventional samples while it was only occasionally found in organic ones. Saccharomyces cerevisiae was isolated only at the end of natural fermentation (conducted in sterile condition), with lower levels in the organic samples. S. cerevisiae strains showed less intraspecies diversity in the organic samples (two genotypes), in comparison with the conventional samples (six genotypes).
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