Composition and Metabolic Functions of the Microbiome in Fermented Grain during Light-Flavor Baijiu Fermentation

Xiaoning Huang, Yi Fan, Ting Lu, Jiamu Kang, Xiaona Pang, Beizhong Han, Jingyu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The metabolism and accumulation of flavor compounds in Chinese Baijiu are driven by microbiota succession and their inter-related metabolic processes. Changes in the microbiome composition during Baijiu production have been examined previously; however, the respective metabolic functions remain unclear. Using shotgun metagenomic sequencing and metabolomics, we examined the microbial and metabolic characteristics during light-flavor Baijiu fermentation to assess the correlations between microorganisms and their potential functions. During fermentation, the bacterial abundance increased from 58.2% to 97.65%, and fermentation resulted in the accumulation of various metabolites, among which alcohols and esters were the most abundant. Correlation analyses revealed that the levels of major metabolites were positively correlated with bacterial abundance but negatively with that of fungi. Gene annotation showed that the Lactobacillus species contained key enzyme genes for carbohydrate metabolism and contributed to the entire fermentation process. Lichtheimia ramosa, Saccharomycopsis fibuligera, Bacillus licheniformis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Pichia kudriavzevii play major roles in starch degradation and ethanol production. A link was established between the composition and metabolic functions of the microbiota involved in Baijiu fermentation, which helps elucidate microbial and metabolic patterns of fermentation and provides insights into the potential optimization of Baijiu production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1281
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Baijiu
  • Fermented grain
  • Metabolites
  • Microbiome composition
  • Shotgun metagenomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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