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DISPATCHES FROM ANUGA FOODTEC 2012

Fraunhofer goes 'wild' with new sensor to help winemakers detect bad yeasts

By Ben Bouckley , 02-Apr-2012
Last updated on 02-Apr-2012 at 15:48 GMT

Caliterra Vineyard in Santa Crux, O' Higgins Region, California (Picture Copyright: Viña Caliterra)
Caliterra Vineyard in Santa Crux, O' Higgins Region, California (Picture Copyright: Viña Caliterra)
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Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer IME are close to commercialising an inexpensive detector that they claim could save wine producers significant amounts of money and time by detecting 'bad' yeasts within grape must, as Cecilia Diaz from the institute told BeverageDaily.com.

During this exclusive podcast, recorded at Anuga FoodTec in Cologne last week, Diaz explained that the plastic sensor kit worked upon the basis of antibody detection - with antibodies developed specifically for different wild yeasts.

A biochemical reaction occurs when a given yeast encounters its given antibody within one of the 10 Plexiglas tubes that the kit (which no bigger than a cellphone) comprises; the tube then turns blue to indicate the yeast's present.

Prior to presenting the technology at Anuga, Diaz's colleague Dr. Mark Bücking said: “Depending on what the winemaker wants, it’s possible to analyse the ‘good’, sought-after yeasts or the ‘bad’, undesirable ones. The technology is very flexible; all you have to do is make the antibodies.”

Currently, only big laboratories were able to carry out such microbiological analyses, which meant a loss of time, as Bucking explained: “Everything’s much quicker with the new antibody testing kit. It’s possible to carry out the test in situ."

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