Cachaça is a typical Brazilian liquor produced from the distillation of fermented sugarcane juice mainly by Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Most of the domestic production is artisanal, and producers usually are not concerned regarding microbiological control of the fermentation. This study aimed to characterize the contaminant bacterial community of the yeast used in the production of cachaça in an artisanal still. Four samples were collected, of which one (NA) was used for comparison purposes and was collected one year earlier. The remaining samples were collected at three different periods: at the end of the first day of fermentation (NP), after fifteen days (NS), and thirty days after the same yeast was used (NT). Five hundred and eighty-seven sequences were analyzed from the partial sequencing of the 16S rDNA gene. Sequence analyses revealed the presence of 170 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Of these, only one was shared among three samples and seventeen were shared between two samples. The remaining 152 OTUs were identified only once in distinct samples indicating that the contaminant bacterial population is highly dynamic along the fermentation process. Statistical analyses revealed differences in bacterial composition among samples. Undescribed species in the literature on yeasts of cachaça were found, such as Weissella cibaria, Leuconostoc citreum, and some species of Lactobacillus, in addition to some unknown bacteria. The community of bacteria in the fermentation process is much more complex than it was previously considered. No previous report is known regarding the use of this technique to determine bacterial contaminants in yeast for the production of cachaça.
aguardente; alcoholic fermentation; genetic characterization; pé-de-cuba