A sensor capable of detecting sulphur compounds in wine

Researchers from the University of Burgos have patented a method capable of detecting sulphur compounds, specifically mercaptans, in wines quickly and efficiently

Spain is the world's leading exporter in volume of wine, with just over 2.300 million litters exported in 2021. In addition, our country is responsible for 25% of wine production in Europe and the wine sector represents 2.2% of the National Gross Value Added. At a regional level, this sector generates more than 33,000 jobs, close to 4% of jobs in Castilla y León, the largest region of Spain.

Given the importance that this sector plays in our society, the control of components that alter the properties of wine has increased in recent years. In this context, the presence of sulphur compounds in wine causes the appearance of unpleasant odors, such as the smell of rotten eggs. The formation of these compounds represents one of the main reasons for complaints by consumers.

 In recent years, several methods have been developed for the determination of these sulphur derivatives. However, the method developed at The University of Burgos is presented as a reference since it allows selective quantification of mercaptans.

The research group SAMS (Sensors in Food, Environment and Health) has developed this electrochemical method. The patented device has a modified electrode that, through an oxidation process, allows knowing the concentration of mercaptans in wines. This method has been validated through truthfulness experiments with real samples.

The main advantage offered by this methodology is that it allows these compounds to be quantified without being in direct contact with the sample, avoiding a possible alteration of the wines and facilitating the performance of routine analyses. In addition, the methodology is also characterized by its high sensitivity and its low cost.

Given the interest in this technology and the worldwide impact of the wine industry, a patent (P202231013) has been applied for to protect both the sensor and the procedure for determining sulphur compounds.



More information:

María Asunción Alonso Lomillo

Research group: SAMS

E-mail: malomillo@ubu.es



University of Burgos

Edificio de Administración y Servicios

C./ Don Juan Austria, Nº 1

09001 Burgos

Phone: +34 947 25 80 36 

E-mail: otri@ubu.es