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May 30, 2022 View:

New research shows new natural substance could replace sulfur in winemaking

The concentration of sulfur dioxide in wine usually ranges from 50 mg/L to 200 mg/L. Although the maximum concentration of sulfur dioxide allowed in wine varies by country and type of wine, the wine industry has been trying to find preservatives that can replace sulfur dioxide because some consumers are sensitive to it and can have allergic reactions, and because high concentrations of sulfur dioxide can neutralize aromas and It can also reduce the quality of the wine.

Image courtesy of: Penin Guide Spain

In view of this, a research group from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Seville, Spain, has been working on the extraction of a natural substance from vine pruning wood that can be used as a substitute for sulfur in the winemaking process. Currently, the extract has been successfully obtained through a collaboration with the University of Bordeaux Oenology Research Group and the Andalusian Institute for Research and Training in Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Ecological Production (IFAPA).

This extract is also subject to toxicological studies required by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) before it can be used in the production of wine. According to the results of the toxicity study, this extract produces ultrastructural changes in human cells, in addition to its very powerful antioxidant activity. The value of this natural extract is that it is rich in 45.4% of stilbene, a substance we know as resveratrol, which is also a stilbene, and which can be used to prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease and slow down aging.

Typically, if sulfur dioxide is not present in sufficient quantities, excessive oxidation and microbial proliferation can occur, reducing the quality and safety of the wine. Sulfur dioxide is not only found in wine, but is also a preservative used in many foods and is so widely available and inexpensive that there is currently no commercially available alternative, but this preservative accumulates in the body. This research is still in full swing with the aim of obtaining sustainable alternatives to sulfur dioxide in wine.