Daqu - a traditional Chinese liquor fermentation starter

X. Zheng, M. Rezaei Tabrizi, M.J.R. Nout, B. Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

274 Citations (Scopus)


Chinese liquor is one of the world's oldest distilled alcoholic beverages, and it is typically obtained with the use of Daqufermentation starters. Daqu is a saccharifying and fermenting agent, having a significant impact on the flavour of the product. Daqucan be categorized according to maximum incubation temperatures (high, medium and low) and flavour (sauce, strong, light and miscellaneous). Most Daquare prepared by solid-state fermentation from wheat, barley and/or peas with ingredient formulation, grinding and mixing, shaping, incubation and maturation. Although there is a wealth of artisanal experience in the production of a range of different types of Daqu, the scientific knowledge base—including the microbiota, their enzymes and their metabolic activities—needs further development. Daquas a specific alcoholic starter is compared with other Asian amylolytic fermentation starters in terms of microbial diversity and function. Filamentous fungi (Rhizopus, Rhizomucor, Aspergillus and other genera), yeasts (Saccharomyces, Candida, Hansenula and other genera) and bacteria (acetic acid bacteria, lactic acid bacteria and Bacillus spp.), are considered to be the functional microbiota, responsible for the formation of a range of lytic enzymes, formation of substrates for alcoholic fermentation and formation of flavour compounds. However, the knowledge about the microbiota composition and their function is still fragmentary information, so further research is required to establish the functionality and growth kinetics of the microbiota in diverse types of Daqu.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-90
JournalJournal of the Institute of Brewing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • luzhou-flavor liquor
  • bacterial community
  • microflora
  • strains
  • culture
  • zaopei
  • food


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