Indigenous Bacteria and Fungi Drive Traditional Kimoto Sake Fermentations
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AbstractSake (Japanese rice wine) production is a complex, multistage process in which fermentation is performed by a succession of mixed fungi and bacteria. This study employed high-throughput rRNA marker gene sequencing, quantitative PCR, and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism to characterize the bacterial and fungal communities of spontaneous sake production from koji to product as well as brewery equipment surfaces. Results demonstrate a dynamic microbial succession, with koji and early moto fermentations dominated by Bacillus, Staphylococcus, and Aspergillus flavus var. oryzae, succeeded by Lactobacillus spp. and Saccharomyces cerevisiae later in the fermentations. The microbiota driving these fermentations were also prevalent in the production environment, illustrating the reservoirs and routes for microbial contact in this traditional food fermentation. Interrogating the microbial consortia of production environments in parallel with food products is a valuable approach for understanding the complete ecology of food production systems and can be applied to any food system, leading to enlightened perspectives for process control and food safety.