Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is important in winemaking because it prevents spoilage. Over time the SO2 is used up, leaving wines without any SO2 protection. Some people are allergic to SO2 so it’s important to be able to monitor and regulate SO2 content during wine production. Current techniques mostly require a sample of the wine to be taken and chemically analysed for sulfites (including SO2) which can be time consuming.
This study demonstrates a technique that can measure sulfite content in small samples of white wine. The researchers used an optical fibre sensing platform which can be suspended in the wine and adapted a known chemical reaction that produces a colour-change when sulfites are present. The optical fibres have three separate chambers and the reaction depends on the interaction between guided light located within the fibre voids and a mixture of the wine sample and a chemical indicator. The researchers showed that this technique makes measurements without the need for the wine dilution and paves the way towards real time in situ wine monitoring.
Corresponding author: Professor Dennis Taylor
Organisations: Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing and School of Chemistry and Physics, University of Adelaide; School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide
Publication: Monro, T.M., Moore, R.L., Nguyen, M.-C., Ebendorff-Heidepriem, H., Skouroumounis, G.K., Elsey, G.M. and Taylor, D.K. (2012) Sensing Free Sulfur Dioxide in Wine. Sensors 12(8):10759-10773.
Link: doi: 10.3390/s120810759 (Open Access)
“Recent research” is a series of short, regular posts highlighting recent research papers from the Waite Campus.