Increased Microorganism Alcohol Tolerance Via Transformation of its pntAB Locus

Tech ID: 32290 / UC Case 2019-582-0


Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed microorganisms with increased alcohol tolerance by modifying the organisms’ pntAB locus through expression of one or both of its pntA/pntB genes.

Full Description

Microorganisms that demonstrate increased tolerance to alcohol have applications in many, significant, industrial and commercial processes. Such organisms offer advantages in diverse fermentation techniques, including winemaking. These microorganisms possess altered proteins, outer envelopes, or plasma membrane lipid bilayers. Increased alcohol tolerance can occur in either a fungal or a bacterial species. Previous research has determined that these microorganisms can either inherit such characteristics from an ancestor or develop increased alcohol tolerance on their own.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a microorganism with increased alcohol tolerance as a result of transforming the expression of one or both of its pntA and pntB genes. Increased alcohol tolerance in bacteria has important implications when converting malic acid to lactic acid during winemaking. This process - known as malolactic fermentation or conversion - imparts important flavor profile and taste characteristics to many red and some white wines. This malolactic fermentation can occur as either a secondary fermentation or concurrent with the primary fermentation.


  • Diverse commercial and industrial fermentation processes performed at high alcohol concentrations – including winemaking


  • Maintains the productivity of bacteria and fungi even at higher alcohol concentrations
  • Provides potential new processes routes for commercial scale fermentation 
  • Reduce production cost and increase production efficiency for industrial fermentation

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Published Application 20190055525 02/21/2019 2019-582


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  • Mills, David A.

Other Information


Microorganism alcohol tolerance, Fermentation, Bacteria, Fungi, Malolactic fermentation/conversion

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