Sensor capable of detecting sulphur compounds in wines

  • From Spain
  • Responsive
  • Patents for licensing

Summary of the technology

Researchers from the University of Burgos have developed a method capable of detecting sulphur compounds, specifically mercaptans, in wines. This new methodology allows analysis to be carried out quickly and with high sensitivity. Furthermore, the proposed electrochemical method is characterized by its low cost and portability.


Details of the Technology Offer

New and innovative aspects

Spain is the world's leading exporter in volume, with just over 2,300 million litres exported in 2021 and is responsible for 25% of wine production in Europe. 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. Although methods for the determination of these compounds have been developed in recent years, the method developed at the University of Burgos is presented as a reference since it allows mercaptans to be quantified selectively without being in direct contact with the sample.

Main advantages of its use

The main advantages offered by this method are the following:
- Allows analysis to be carried out in the gas phase, reducing the number of interfering species and increasing selectivity.
- The sensor is not in direct contact with the wine, so it does not alter the product.
- No pre-treatment of the sample is required.
- The method is also characterized by its high sensitivity, its low cost and, due to its compact size, its portability.
For all these reasons, this methodology is positioned as one of the most suitable for the determination of mercaptans.


Electrochemical measurements are performed using a potentiostat to which the CoPh-modified screen-printed device is connected, which has previously been immersed in a supporting electrolyte solution in such a way that it is pre-charged by adsorption. Amperometric measurements are subsequently made in the headspace of a sealed cell. Once a constant current is registered, a determined volume of the EtSH or wine solution is added to the cell, as appropriate, registering the corresponding increase in the registered current due to the oxidation process that takes place on the surface of the electrode. The current measured at the surface of the working electrode depends on the EtSH concentration in the cell.

The applicability of the developed method has been validated through truthfulness experiments, in which wines were analysed both in their original state and after the addition of a known amount of the analyte.


The main application of the developed sensors is in the wine industry as a technique for the determination of mercaptans. The analysis would make it possible to quantify these compounds throughout the winemaking process.
Additionally, this methodology could be widely implemented in the agro-food industry.

Intellectual property status

Protected by a patent P202231013

Current development status

Research or Experimental

Desired business relationship

Trade Agreement, License Agreement, Technical cooperation: further development, Technical Cooperation: testing of new applications; Technical Cooperation: adaptation to specific needs.

Intellectual property status

Related Keywords

  • Biological Sciences
  • Agrofood Industry
  • Measurements and Standards
  • Social and Economics concerns
  • Food and Beverages
  • Wine and liquors
  • Industrial Products
  • Wine
  • mercaptans
  • electrode
  • headspace


The aim of the The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) of the Univesidad de Burgos is to promote Innovation technology through the reseach results transfer and the conexions between the University and the new needs and requirements of the society - we are the link between the University and the Industry. Contact person: José Manuel López (


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