Oenococcus oeni

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Oenococcus oeni
O. oeni.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Division: Firmicutes
Class: Bacilli
Order: Lactobacillales
Family: Leuconostocaceae
Genus: Oenococcus
(Garvie 1967) Dicks et al. 1995
Species: O. oeni
Binomial name
Oenococcus oeni

Leuconostoc oeni

Oenococcus oeni (known as Leuconostoc oeni until 1995) is a Gram-positive bacteria species in the genus of Oenococcus. It used to be the only species in the genus; in 2006, the species Oenococcus kitaharae was identified. As its name implies, Oenococcus oeni holds major importance in the field of oenology, where it is the primary bacteria involved in completing the malolactic fermentation.[1]



Diacetyl in wine is produced by lactic acid bacteria, mainly O. oeni. In low levels it can impart positive nutty or caramel characters, however at levels above 5 mg/L it creates an intense buttery or butterscotch flavour, where it is perceived as a flaw. The sensory threshold for the compound can vary depending on the levels of certain wine components, such as sulfur dioxide. It can be produced as a metabolite of citric acid when all of the malic acid has been consumed. Diacetyl rarely taints wine to levels where it becomes undrinkable.[2]


  1. ^ Kunkee, R. E. 1973. Malo-Lactic Fermentation and Winemaking. In, The Chemistry of Winemaking, Adv. Chem. Ser. 137, A. D. Webb, Ed. American Chemical Society. Washington DC.
  2. ^ Gibson, George; Farkas, Mike Flaws and Faults in Wine. URL accessed on 12 March 2006.

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