Improving the Organoleptic Properties of a Craft Mezcal Beverage by Increasing Fatty Acid Ethyl Ester Contents through ATF1 Expression in an Engineered Kluyveromyces marxianus UMPe-1 Yeast.J Agric Food Chem. 2018 May 02; 66(17):4469-4480.JA
Mezcal, a traditional beverage that originated in Mexico, is produced from species of the Agavaceae family. The esters associated with the yeasts utilized during fermentation are important for improving the organoleptic properties of the beverage. We improved the ester contents in a mezcal beverage by using the yeast Kluyveromyces marxianus, which was engineered with the ATF1 gene. ATF1 expression in the recombinant yeast significantly increased compared with that in the parental yeast, but its fermentative parameters were unchanged. Volatile-organic-compound-content analysis showed that esters had significantly increased in the mezcal produced with the engineered yeast. In a sensory-panel test, 48% of the panelists preferred the mezcal produced from the engineered yeast, 30% preferred the mezcal produced from the wild type, and 15 and 7% preferred the two mezcal types produced following the routine procedure. Correlation analysis showed that the fruitiness/sweetness description of the mezcal produced using the ATF1-engineered K. marxianus yeast correlated with the content of the esters, whose presence improved the organoleptic properties of the craft mezcal beverage.