Francesca Casu

PhD Student


School of Biological Sciences, The University of Auckland

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  • Metabolomics
  • Microbiology and Molecular Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Bioanalytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Science and Evolution
  • Bioinformatics and Statistics



  • 2011 - PhD student at Metabolomics Lab, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Auckland
  • 2011 – Research Assistant at The University of Auckland
  • 2009 – MSc in Ecology and Evolution, Universita’ di Roma Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy
  • 2006 – Bachelor Degree in Biotechnology, Universita’ degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy



Sauvignon blanc metabolomics: The effect of a fatty acid on Saccharomyces cerevisiae metabolism during wine making.

The previous research in our lab showed that the pre-fermentative addition of a polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) at trace levels to the grape juice induced the increased production of some important wine aroma compounds, such as volatile thiols some esters. The development of other aroma compounds was also significantly influenced due to the addition of this PUFA. In addition, there was a marked alteration of the metabolite profile of the resulting Sauvignon Blanc wines (Pinu et al. 2013). However, we do have very limited knowledge how this fatty acid affects the metabolism of yeast cells and the production of the aroma compounds during the wine making. Through the application of metabolomics, we aim to acquire new information by studying the metabolic response of different strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to PUFA and their influence on the wine properties (Figure 1).


Figure 1. The overall experimental approach with the addition of a fatty acid to determine the changes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae metabolism.



Pinu, F.R.; Edwards, P.J.B.; Jouanneau, S.; Kilmartin, P.A.; Gardner, R.C; Villas-Boas, S.G. 2013. Sauvignon blanc metabolomics: grape juice metabolites affecting the development of varietal thiols and other aroma compounds in wines. Metabolomics DOI 10.1007/s11306-013-0615-9


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