Magnetic particles could improve the flavour of wine

Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

Magnetic particles could improve the flavour of wine

Scientists have found a way to remove unwanted flavours from wine without impacting the rest of the bouquet using tiny magnetic particles.

Wines contain naturally occurring substances that make up their distinct aromas and flavours. While many of these are desirable, such as fruity and floral, some people do not enjoy the vegetable-like aromas found in wines such as cabernet sauvignon. This is caused by a group of substances called alkylmethoxypyrazines (MPs) which, in excessive amounts, can overpower desirable aromas and unbalance the flavour palette of the wine.

Previous attempts to remove these unwanted flavours using additives such as activated charcoal and deodorised oak chips have been unsuccessful, so a team of researchers led by David Jeffery from the University of Adelaide turned to polymers as a potential solution. They wanted to see if attaching magnetic nanoparticles to polymers would allow them to isolate and remove MPs from wine.

The researchers spiked cabernet sauvignon with a particular MP that produces a strong green bell pepper aroma. Using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, they found that the magnetic polymers removed the compound more effectively than polylactic acid film did. A group of taste testers said the new approach removed the capsicum taste without impacting the overall aroma of the wine.

According to the researchers, it also has the potential to be used to remove unwanted flavours from other wines, but further research needs to be done to establish the best way of implementing it into the winemaking process.

The study received funding from the Australian Research Council’s Industrial Transformation Research Program and was published in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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