New sensor for monitoring acetaldehyde in wine

Friday, 14 July, 2017

At low levels acetaldehyde adds pleasant fruity aromas to wine, but at levels above 125 mg/L it can give ‘overripe bruised apples’, ‘stuck ferment’ character or ‘sherry’ and ‘nut-like’ characters. Temperature, pH and oxygen concentrations all affect acetaldehyde development, so winemakers are keen to know and monitor the chemical’s concentration.

Traditionally winemakers used trained experts, long processing times and complex equipment to measure acetaldehyde levels, but a new sensor may be able to automate this task and give results in real time.

Kohji Mitsubayashi and colleagues have proposed a sensitive, versatile detector that is more selective than its predecessors and reported their results in ACS Sensors.

The team tested for acetaldehyde in nine different wines, both red and white. The new detector produced results comparable to those obtained with traditional methods but was simpler to operate and produced real-time results. The researchers say that the device could provide wineries with a more practical method for monitoring this make-or-break ingredient.

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