Additive may make wine fine for a longer time

November 21, 2013 by Matthew Swayne, Pennsylvania State University
Additive may make wine fine for a longer time
Oxidation can cause browning, as well as the loss of fruity characteristics. Credit: © iStockohoto diephosi

An additive may help curb a chemical reaction that causes wine to look, smell and taste funky, according to food scientists.

The researchers added chelation compounds that bind with metals to inhibit , or oxygen's ability to react with some of the trace metals that are found in the wine, according to Gal Kreitman, a doctoral candidate in , Penn State.

"Oxidation has several bad effects on wine, such as discoloration and a loss of aroma," said Kreitman. "It can cause browning, as well as the loss of fruity characteristics, something that is much more noticeable in white wines."

Oxygen usually enters wine through the cork and interacts with metals, particularly , setting off a chain reaction that changes compounds that add particular and often disagreeable tastes and smells to the drink, according to the researchers, who released their findings in a recent issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Because two types of oxidations states—iron 2 and iron 3—are present in wine, the researchers looked at iron 2 and iron 3 chelators, including bipyridine, Ferrozine, ethylenediaminetertraacetic acid —EDTA—and phytic acid.

Both types of chelators significantly inhibited the oxidation in the wine, said Kreitman, who worked with Ryan J. Elias, assistant professor of science, Penn State; Annegret Cantu, director of research and development at VinPerfect; and Andrew Waterhouse, professor of enology, the University of California Davis.

"The ligands of bipyridine, Ferrozine, EDTA and phytic acid bind to the metals, which can inhibit their reaction," said Kreitman. A ligand is a molecule that is able to bind to the central atom of a .

The researchers analyzed the concentrations of iron and copper in white wine and also measured the amount of oxidation that occurred after the chelators were added to the wine samples. The wine was made from pinot gris, a variety of grape that is often used in .

Winemakers have previously attempted to control oxidation in the wine by stripping out the metals, which are acquired through the soil and from the grape. However, Kreitman said those processes are impractical and expensive.

"Unfortunately, the process to remove the metals can strip color and flavor compounds from the wine and processes like ion exchange can end up making the taste more salty," Kreitman said.

Kreitman said that further research would be needed to find chelators that are food safe. While there are chelators that are safe for consumption, many have yet to be approved for food-making and winemaking processes. Phytic acid is one chelator that might be both effective in neutralizing oxidation, as well as safe for consumption, according to Kreitman.

Explore further: Red, White Wine, Fish And Science

Related Stories

Red, White Wine, Fish And Science

October 29, 2009

The long-standing rule of matching wine and food -- red wine with red meat and white wine with fish -- actually has a scientific explanation, according to two scientists working for the Mercian Corporation, a Japanese producer ...

Advice for bag-in-box wine drinkers: Keep it cool

December 5, 2012

Bag-in-box wines are more likely than their bottled counterparts to develop unpleasant flavors, aromas and colors when stored at warm temperatures, a new study has found. Published in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food ...

Corks and screw caps: Can wine consumers taste the variation?

September 21, 2012

(Phys.org)—To help winemakers determine the best caps for their wine bottles, researchers at the University of California, Davis, are studying the performance—specifically the variability—within different types of closures.

Recommended for you

Detecting metabolites at close range

June 22, 2018

A novel concept for a biosensor of the metabolite lactate combines an electron transporting polymer with lactate oxidase, which is the enzyme that specifically catalyzes the oxidation of lactate. Lactate is associated with ...

CryoEM study captures opioid signaling in the act

June 22, 2018

Opioid drugs like morphine and fentanyl are a mainstay of modern pain medicine. But they also cause constipation, are highly addictive, and can lead to fatal respiratory failure if taken at too high a dose. Scientists have ...

Researchers achieve unprecedented control of polymer grids

June 21, 2018

Synthetic polymers are ubiquitous—nylon, polyester, Teflon and epoxy, to name just a few—and these polymers are all long, linear structures that tangle into imprecise structures. Chemists have long dreamed of making polymers ...

Template to create superatoms could make for better batteries

June 21, 2018

Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have discovered a novel strategy for creating superatoms—combinations of atoms that can mimic the properties of more than one group of elements of the periodic table. These superatoms ...

0 comments

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.