Bacterial DNA Diversity among Clear and Cloudy Sakes, and Sake-kasu

Momoka Terasaki1, Hiromi Nishida*, 1
1 Graduate School of Engineering, Toyama Prefectural University, 5180 Kurokawa, Imizu, Toyama 939-0398, Japan

© 2020 Terasaki and Nishida

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to the author at the Graduate School of Engineering, Toyama Prefectural University, Imizu, Toyama 939-0398, Japan; Tel: +81 766 56 7500; E-mail:



The traditional Japanese alcoholic drink, sake, is classified into two types: those that contain sediment produced during the production process (cloudy sakes) and those that do not contain such sediment (clear sakes). Leftover pressed sediment from the sake production process, sake-kasu (sake cake or sake lees), is commercially available and is highly nutritious for humans.


The purpose of this study was to determine the difference among component bacterial DNA sequences of clear and cloudy sakes, and sake-kasu.


We compared the 16S rDNA sequences from 44 samples of clear sake, 3 samples of cloudy sake, and 11 samples of sake-kasu.


The DNA sequences were divided into three major clusters; however, sequences in sake-kasu were located in just one cluster forming two lineages. The microbial diversity in sake-kasu was lower than that in clear and cloudy sakes, which may be because some of the contaminating bacterial cells do not lyse during the production process and remain intact, along with yeast cells, in sake-kasu.


Bacterial DNA frequently detected in sake samples was from environmental bacterial contamination that occurs early in the sake production process. Contaminating bacteria are usually killed by the ethanol produced as the sake yeast grows; after which, if bacteria lyse, the bacterial DNA is released into the sake solution. However, if the bacterial cells do not lyse, they will precipitate toward the sediment. Thus, there is bacterial DNA diversity in clear and cloudy sake, but less diversity in sake-kasu.

Keywords: Bacterial contamination, Sake production process, Bacterial cell lysis, Sake-kasu, 16S rDNA, Japanese alcoholic drink.