Grape expectations for healthier wine

Feb 12, 2007

A new technique that uses ozone to preserve grapes could help prevent allergies and boost healthy compounds at the same time, reports Jennifer Rohn in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI. The same technique could be used in the wine-making process to produce healthier wines without the added sulphites that can cause asthma and other conditions in some people.

Mass-marketed grapes can remain in storage for months and are usually treated with sulphur dioxide to prevent decay. Although the sulphur dioxide is effective, it is corrosive and can cause severe allergic reactions in some people. Wine-makers have a similar problem in that the sulphites added to wines to prolong their shelf-life and allow them to age can make their wines unpalatable to some drinkers.

Francisco Artes-Hernandez and his team at the Technical University of Cartagena in Spain compared several different preservative methods with a new technique that involves exposing macroperforated packages of grapes at 0 degress C to cycles of 0.1 micro liters per liter of ozone. They found that ozone treatment was 90% as effective as SO2 at preventing decay. In addition, ozone-treated grapes had up to four times more antioxidants than untreated grapes (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, doi 10.1002/jsfa.2780).

It is not yet known why antioxidant levels increase, but because these compounds are up-regulated in response to environmental stress in plant cells, it could be that the ozone is perceived as a biochemical insult.

Andrew Waterhouse, Chair of the Department of Viticulture at University of California, Davis, said that because wine growers don't store grapes for prolonged periods, they are unlikely to use ozone in any preservation process. He agreed, however that the ozone process could be tweaked to replace problematic sulphites added to wine during the liquification process, presenting the possibility of healthier more hypoallergenic wines.

Antioxidants, natural compounds found in red wine, chocolate, coffee and many fruits, are believed to help prevent a variety of diseases including cancer and neurodegeneration.

Source: Society of Chemical Industry

Explore further: Researchers bring clean energy a step closer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Boy or girl? Lemur scents have the answer

6 hours ago

Dozens of pregnancy myths claim to predict whether a mom-to-be is carrying a boy or a girl. Some say you can tell by the shape of a woman's bump, or whether she craves salty or sweet.

SOHO sees something new near the sun

8 hours ago

An unusual comet skimmed past the sun on Feb 18-21, 2015, as captured by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO.

Train car design reduced impact in Southern California crash

8 hours ago

(AP)—After a horrific crash a decade ago that killed 11 people and injured 180 more, Southern California's commuter train network began investing heavily in passenger cars designed to protect passengers from the full force ...

Recommended for you

Researchers bring clean energy a step closer

Feb 27, 2015

For nearly half a century, scientists have been trying to replace precious metal catalysts in fuel cells. Now, for the first time, researchers at Case Western Reserve University have shown that an inexpensive metal-free catalyst ...

The construction of ordered nanostructures from benzene

Feb 27, 2015

A way to link benzene rings together in a highly ordered three-dimensional helical structure using a straightforward polymerization procedure has been discovered by researchers from RIKEN Center for Sustainable ...

Superatomic nickel core and unusual molecular reactivity

Feb 27, 2015

A superatom is a combination of two or more atoms that form a stable structural fragment and possess unique physical and chemical properties. Systems, that contain superatoms, open a number of amazing possibilities ...

Oat breakfast cereals may contain a common mold-related toxin

Feb 25, 2015

Oats are often touted for boosting heart health, but scientists warn that the grain and its products might need closer monitoring for potential mold contamination. They report in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that s ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.