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Kahm

Layer formed from bacteria and special yeast fungi (Kahm yeasts) in the form of a whitish-grey skin (Kuhme), which grows rapidly on liquids containing nutrients. The Kahm yeasts require oxygen and can be formed several millimetres thick on the surface of the wine after fermentation if the container is not bung-full and rapid multiplication takes place due to the oxygen bubble. The layer is also called "mycoderma vini" (wine fungus skin). The wine-damaging cream yeasts metabolise alcohol to acetic acid and acetic acid ethyl ester and also act as a carrier substance for Acetobacter (acetic acid bacteria). Young, low-alcohol wines with low sulphur dioxide content are particularly susceptible. When this occurs, it is a wine defect known as "kahmig". The affected wine smells mouldy and has a thin, stale and acetic taste like rancid butter. This can be prevented by regularly refilling the containers or by using inert gas (protective gas). The vinegar mother formed during the production of vinegar is also called "vinegar cream". A desirable cream layer is the pile effective in sherry production. See also under yeasts

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