The alcoholic content of wine has crept gradually northward in the last 10-15 years, from 12-12.5 percent to beyond 15 percent. What might sound trivial to aficionados of hard liquor is seen by some oenophiles as a disturbing trend, threatening the flavor and character of some wines. That, plus issues of public health, as well as taxes (in some countries, on alcoholic content), have created a need for approaches to lowering alcohol content.
The investigation began with a systematic screening of non-Saccharomyces yeast as a means of achieving such a reduction, says corresponding author Cristian Varela of the Australian Wine Research Institute, Adelaide, South Australia. The investigators evaluated 50 different isolates from 40 species and 24 genera for their capacity to produced wine with reduced ethanol concentration. They chose the most successful of these yeasts, Metschnikowia pulcherrima AWRI1149, for experiments in which it was set to work separately on Chardonnay and Shiraz musts.
Once the slower-growing Metschnikowia yeasts had consumed 50 percent of the sugar, S. cerevisiae were added to the mix to complete the process. This "sequential inoculation" reduced the alcohol content in Shiraz from 15 percent to 13.4 percent (and somewhat less in Chardonnay). Controls not inoculated with non-Saccharomyces strains did not produce reduced alcohol content, according to the report.
"The reduction isn't all that great, but it's in the right direction, and with more work, they might get that even lower, perhaps by letting the non-Saccharomyces yeast go longer before you throw in the Saccharomyces, says Alan Bakalinsky, of Oregon State University, Corvallis, who was not involved in the research.
This reduction in alcohol will be of great benefit to the industry says Louisa Rose, of Yalumba and Hill-Smith Family Vinyards, Angaston, South Australia, who is also a director of the Australian Wine Research Institute. "It is using techniques—sequential fermentation—that can easily be used in the winery on a commercial scale."
Previous studies investigating the effects of non-Saccharomyces yeasts on alcoholic fermentation have focused on few species and been concerned principally with the formation of the flavor compounds that might impact negatively on wine quality. None of these led to reductions in alcohol content as substantial as those he reported, says Varela.
The rise in alcohol content in wine has resulted from later harvesting of red grapes. This allows the tannins—responsible for astringency and bitterness—to soften, and in some varieties, it helps minimize the presence of off-flavors, like methoxypyrazines (green pepper/asparagus sensory notes.) But on the downside, the boost in alcohol content reduces aroma and flavor intensity, as well as otherwise impairing the oenological experience. Reducing the alcohol would enable the best of both worlds.
It would also reduce consumer costs in countries where alcohol consumption is taxed, and accede to national and international public health recommendations to lower the alcohol content of alcoholic beverages, such as wine.
A copy of the manuscript can be found online at http://bit.ly/asmtip0114f. The final version of the article is scheduled for the March 2014 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology is a publication of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). The ASM is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. Its mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide.
Jim Sliwa | EurekAlert!
Funding of Collaborative Research Center developing nanomaterials for cancer immunotherapy extended
28.06.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Zeolite catalysts pave the road to decentral chemical processes Confined space increases reactivity
28.06.2017 | Technische Universität München
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
28.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.06.2017 | Life Sciences
28.06.2017 | Awards Funding