Thursday, 19 February 2015

Aroma, Flavour and Colour of Finos Can Be Improved in the Laboratory

This is a “boring but important” Europa Press article published today in the Diario de Jerez and this research could have far-reaching implications.

“Vitenol”, the oenological and viticultural group of the University of Córdoba (UCO) has developed a method of identifying “for the first time” the proteins found in flor yeasts which have such a profound influence in the Finos of Jerez, Sanlúcar and Montilla.

In a press release the Fundación Descubre explains that this study gives scientists a tool to analyse and later modify the genes of the micro-organisms which are so closely involved in fermentation and ageing of Finos and improve their properties of aroma, flavour and colour.

Until now, studies of yeast proteins had been centred on those involved in fermentation, mainly in the world of bread and beer. Now, with the identification of the flor yeast proteins, their biochemical reactions can be unravelled, that is to say their metabolism, and thus how these fungi work their magic on Finos.

In the rivetingly titled article “Proteins involved in flor yeast carbon metabolism under biofilm formation conditions” published in the magazine “Food Microbiology” the researchers tackled the first analysis which will allow them to find out, for example, which proteins are associated with the process of developing alcohol or which are involved in the formation of metabolites – substances derived from fermentation which improve wine.

“When we discover a protein with a significant property or function in the maturation of wine, we will be able to alter the gene which produces this protein and improve it so that the final product can be enriched” says Juan Carlos García Mauricio, chief researcher of the Fundación Descubre.

While the study has closely-linked applications to the wine trade, the researchers believe that the results could be useful in other fields, such as medicine.  “Being able to analyse yeast proteins could be really helpful in the detection and treatment of disease. The important thing is to open avenues for the advancement of knowledge.”

This study forms a part of the equally rivetingly titled research project “Improvement in the formation of yeast biocapsules for the production of Cava involving yeast proteins and their metabolism” and is financed at government and European level.

(Yeast capsules for bottle-fermented sparkling wine have been on the research agenda for years and are beginning to come good).

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