Chitosan is gaining interest in red winemaking thanks to its ability to inhibit the development of Brettanomyces spp. yeast, or other undesired wine microbial threats. However, little is known about potential side-effects of its addition on the physico-chemical parameters of red wines. To fill the gap on this subject, this work focused on changes in color, phenolic and volatile composition of red wines treated for 7 days with 0.5 g/L of fungoid chitosan, added in both undissolved and dissolved form. When compared to untreated samples, minor changes in phenolic compounds were observed in chitosan added wines, mainly involving hydroxycinnamic acids and flavonols, with reductions of 3 mg/L and 1.5 mg/L respectively. Ellagic acid, however, was absorbed up to 2 mg/L, which reduced his content by 40%. Since some of these compounds actively participate to co-pigmentation with anthocyanins, the color of wines was influenced accordingly. Chitosan marginally absorbed some aroma compounds, including ethyl esters and volatile phenols whose amounts were slightly but significantly decreased after treatment. Visual and olfactive comparison of samples confirmed that, at the dose adopted, chitosan is suitable to be used in red winemaking for microbial or physical stability purposes, not severely impairing the quality parameters of the final wines.
Authors: Antonio Castro Marin*, Fabio Chinnici
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Viale Fanin 40, 40127