This study was aimed at investigating the suitability of three local fruits as substrates for wine production and the efficiency of four indigenous yeasts strains isolated from palm wine in comparison with the commercial Saccharomyces cerevisiae for alcoholic fermentation of fruits. A total of five yeast strains (S. cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces octoporus, Pichia spp. and Saccharomyces paradoxus) isolated from palm wine and commercial S. cerevisiae and three fruits (passion fruit, water melon and pineapple) were used for this investigation. Primary and secondary fermentation of the fruit must lasted for 12 and 8 days, respectively. During fermentation, aliquot samples were removed daily from the fermentation tank for analysis of alcohol content, specific gravity, total solids, titratable acidity, volatile acidity and fixed acidity, using standard procedures. Proximate analysis of the test fruits revealed them to be poor sources of protein but with high moisture content that ranged from 72 to 84%. Temperature and pH of the fruit must during the period of fermentation ranged from 28 to 32°C and from 3.0 to 4.8, respectively. During the fermentation period, consistent increases in alcohol content were observed with time. At the end of 20 days fermentation, the concentration of alcohol in the fruit wines was observed to range from 10.14 to 12.80%. Also, titratable, volatile and fixed acid concentrations were observed to show steady increase with time throughout the period of fermentation. The study has revealed that acceptable wine could be produced from these fruits with the test yeast strains.
Key words: Fruit wines, yeast, fermentation, alcohol, acidity.
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