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To help wineries avoid off-aromas, researchers in Japan have developed a sensitive device for detecting a compound that can affect the beverage's fragrance.
A fine wine has an ideal balance of ingredients.
Too much or too little of a component could mean the difference between a wine with a sweet and fruity aroma and one that smells like a wet newspaper.
When present in high amounts in wine, the compound acetaldehyde -- frequently found in a lot of places and foods such as fruits, vegetables and human saliva - produces an unpleasant odour and affects the fermentation process.
Therefore, it is important for winemakers to monitor the acetaldehyde levels, which can vary with temperature, pH and oxygen concentrations.
Current methods involve trained experts, long processing times and complex equipment.
Kohji Mitsubayashi from Tokyo Medical and Dental University, and colleagues tested the new device 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, according to the study published in the journal ACS Sensors.
The device could provide wineries with a more practical method for monitoring this make-or-break ingredient, the researchers said.