Cashew apples are by-products in the production of cashew nuts, which are mostly left to rot in the fields. Cashew apple juice (CAJ), a highly nutritious beverage, can be produced from them. It is rich in sugars and ascorbic acid, but its high polyphenol content makes it bitter and astringent, and therefore difficult to commercialize. The kingdom of fungi contains more than 2000 yeast species, of which only a few species have been studied in relation to their potential to produce aroma compounds. The aim of this research was to develop a new low-alcoholic fermented beverage to valorize cashew apples. For this purpose, a screening was carried out employing non-conventional yeast species and some species of the genus Saccharomyces
for comparison, followed by a more detailed study with four selected strains cultured at different conditions. The production of volatile aroma compounds as a function of the presence of oxygen, temperature, and yeast species was investigated. The results showed that the more diverse aroma profiles appeared at 25 °C under anaerobic cultivation conditions, where Saccharomyces cerevisiae
WUR 102 and Hanseniaspora guilliermondii
CBS 2567 excelled in the synthesis of certain aroma compounds, such as β-phenylethanol and its acetate ester (rose aroma). Further studies are needed to test consumer acceptance of these new products.
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