The behaviour of Kloeckera apiculata, Candida pulcherrima and Saccharomyces cerevisiae was studied with pure and mixed cultures in grape juice. The non-Saccharomyces species showed significant growth and survival in mixed cultures, although S. cerevisiae dominated the fermentation. Ethanol production was higher with S. cerevisiae in both cultures. K apiculata and C pulcherrima formed the lowest amounts of ethanol with high residual sugars and the highest contents of ethyl acetate in pure cultures. The concentrations of ethyl acetate produced in mixed cultures were higher than those produced using only S. cerevisiae. Moreover, other volatile compounds were not formed in undesirable levels in mixed cultures. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.