Management and optimisation of the AWRI Wine Microorganism Culture Collection
The AWRI Wine Microorganism Culture Collection (AWMCC) contains over 10,000 yeast and bacterial strains including yeast genome deletion libraries, proprietary strains, and natural isolates from Australian wineries. In addition, the collection is a largely untapped resource of microbial diversity which, if properly characterised, has the potential to greatly enhance microbial strain development projects.
Ongoing use of the culture collection is expected for future Wine Australia-funded projects, which will lead to the generation and/or isolation of many novel yeast and bacteria. Efficient use of the collection will require a reorganisation of storage facilities (including the off-site duplicate collection), and an update of the existing collection database into a format that is amenable to high throughput screening and characterisation. In addition, quality control (QC) of new depositions and existing strains within the collection, will be required on an ongoing basis, and technological advances may provide opportunities to improve existing QC regimes. Once the collection has been organised for high throughput screening, large scale genotyping and phenotyping will be feasible.
Identification, storage and distribution of microbial strains
In 2017/2018, 489 yeast and bacterial strains were submitted to the AWMCC from researchers and wineries, bringing the total in the collection to approximately 18,500. All strains submitted were checked for purity, had their identity determined and were placed into cryogenic storage at -80°C. The AWMCC holds 7,200 yeasts isolated from Australian ferments as part of the AWRI’s bioprospecting project. During the year, the AWMCC distributed 377 microbial samples from cryogenic stocks. The collection’s primary -80°C freezer was upgraded and a PIXL automated colony picking robot was installed. This instrument enables high throughput selection of yeast and bacterial colonies from agar for downstream analysis.