Evaluating the effect of different winemaking techniques on ethanol production
Thesis (MscAgric (Viticulture and Oenology))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.
Over the years, different techniques have been used to legally reduce the ethanol content of wines. Several physical processes are available for producing wines with less alcohol. Despite their efficacy, these treatments have a capital and operational cost influence. They can also affect the concentration of other wine components. On the other hand, vast amount of research has been conducted through genetic modification of wine yeast strains in order to reduce the ethanol yield of Saccharomyces cerevisiae by diverting sugar metabolism towards various byproducts. However, genetically modified yeasts are not currently accepted in most wine industries worldwide, including South Africa. Therefore, other approaches need to be envisaged. Commercial enzymes are commonly added during winemaking. Most enzymes essential for vinification naturally occur in grapes, but are inefficient under pH and sulphur levels associated with winemaking. Enzymes of fungal origin are resistant to such conditions. The most widely used commercial enzymes include pectinases, hemicellulases, glucanases and glycosidases. With the exception of glucanases, produced by Trichoderma harzianium, all the other enzymes are produced by Aspergillus niger. In this study, the possibility of using Gluzyme Mono® 10.000 BG (Gluzyme) (Novozymes, South Africa) to reduce the glucose content of synthetic grape must and grape must before fermentation in order to produce wine with a reduced alcohol content was investigated. Gluzyme is a glucose oxidase preparation from Aspergillus oryzae, currently being used in the baking industry. Glucose oxidase catalyses the oxidation of glucose to gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide in the presence of molecular oxygen. Gluzyme was initially used in synthetic grape must where different enzyme concentrations and factors influencing its activity were investigated for its use in winemaking. The results showed that up to 0.5% v/v less alcohol were obtained using an enzyme concentration of 20 kU compared to the control. This reduction in alcohol was increased to 1 and 1.3% v/v alcohol at pH 3.5 and pH 5.5 respectively in aerated synthetic grape must using 30 kU enzyme. Secondly, Gluzyme trials were carried out using Pinotage grape must. Gluzyme treated wines after fermentation contained 0.68% v/v less alcohol than the control samples at 30 kU enzyme. Colour and volatile flavour compounds of treated wine did not differ significantly from the untreated samples. Lower free anthocyanin and total phenol concentrations in treated than control samples were observed, possibly due to the hydrogen peroxide oxidation which could have led to polymerisation. The present study has clearly demonstrated that Gluzyme may be used in winemaking to produce reduced-alcohol wine without affecting its colour and aroma compounds. The enzyme in its current form is however, not ideal for winemaking; other forms such as liquid or powder form should be considered if the enzyme is to be used under winemaking conditions. Future work should focus on evaluating the potential new form of the enzyme and studying the effects of Gluzyme in various grape must in semi-industrial scale. A tasting panel should also evaluate its impact on the organoleptic properties and the overall quality of the resulting wines.