Sustainable wine industry challenge: optimised cork powder us new sustainable fining agent to remove negative volatile phenols

AIM: Cork, the bark of Quercus suber L. is a natural, renewable, sustainable, and biodegradable raw material, representing an abundant and cheap source of raw material. Portugal is the major cork producer (185,000 tons) processing about three-quarters of the world’s cork, generating up to 25 wt % of cork dust as a by-product. Pre-treatments to improve cork powder biosorption performance have been studied, such as washing with solvents, soaking in salt, acid, or basic solutions, chemical oxidation, and thermal treatment. In the last decades, millions of litters of red wine have become contaminated with the yeast Dekkera/Brettanomyces acquiring an unpleasant off-flavour, named “Brett character”. This work aims to explore the use of the abundant cork powder waste, either in its natural form or after its optimisation by simple physical and chemical treatments, trying to get a new cheap and sustainable wine fining agent for removing negative volatile phenols from red wine. METHODS: A simple process was developed to increase the performance of the natural cork powder (CKN). CKN was treated to remove the dichloromethane and ethanol extractives (9.9% of dichloromethane-ethanol extractives, CKF). CKF was sieved to obtain a particle size below 75 μm (29% of the CKF, CKF75). RESULTS: Cork adsorptive performance improvement by removal of cork extractives, air removal, and ethanol impregnation allowed us to obtain 41% to 62% of 4-ethylphenol (4-EP) and 50% to 53% of 4-ethylguaiacol (4-EG) removal from red wine. Optimised cork powder recovers significantly the positive fruity and floral sensory of red wine. CONCLUSIONS: By simple treatments the cork powder increased significantly its performance in the negative volatile phenols removing, presenting better performance than activate carbons or chitosan. The wine treated with optimised cork powder recovers significantly its sensorial quality.

Authors: L. Filipe-Ribeiro – Chemistry Research Centre – Vila Real (CQ-VR), Food and Wine Chemistry Lab, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal.,Fernanda Cosme,  Chemistry Research Centre – Vila Real (CQ-VR), Food and Wine Chemistry Lab, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal. Fernando Nunes,  Chemistry Research Centre – Vila Real (CQ-VR), Food and Wine Chemistry Lab, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal.

Email: fmota@utad.pt

Keywords: volatile phenols, removing, optimised cork powder

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