ABSTRACT: Hong Qu glutinous rice wine is one of the most popular traditional rice wines in China. Traditionally, this wine is brewed from glutinous rice with the addition of wine fermentation starters (Hong Qu (also called red yeast rice) and White Qu). The objective of this study was to investigate the variability of filamentous fungi associated with traditional fermentation starters through a traditional culture-dependent method and a molecular identification approach. In this study, forty-three filamentous fungi were separated by traditional culture-dependent means (macro- and microscopic characteristics) from 10 fermentation starters and classified into 16 different species based on morphological examination and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences analysis. It was observed that the genus Aspergillus had the highest number (14 isolates) of isolates followed by Rhizopus (11 isolates), Monascus (5 isolates) and Penicillium (4 isolates). The species R. oryzae, A. niger, A. flavus and M. purpureus were frequently found in wine starter samples, among which R. oryzae was the most frequent species. The enzyme-producing properties (glucoamylase, α-amylase and protease) of all fungal isolates from different starters were also evaluated. A. flavus, R. oryzae and M. purpureus were found to be better glucoamylase producers. A. flavus, R. oryzae and A.oryzae exhibited higher activity of α-amylase. A. flavus and A. oryzae had higher protease activity. However, some fungal isolates of the same species exhibited a significant variability in the production levels for all determined enzyme activity. This study is the first to identify filamentous fungi associated with the starter of Hong Qu glutinous rice wine using both traditional and molecular methods. The results enrich our knowledge of liquor-related micro-organisms, and can be used to promote the development of the traditional fermentation technology.
The Journal of General and Applied Microbiology 01/2012; 58(1):33-42. · 0.98 Impact Factor