A laser for detecting Brett in casks

Thursday December 14 2017 by Vitisphere

- Photo credit : Cordouan Technologies

During the maturation phase, the laser probe “will not replace laboratory analyses [to detect Brettanomyces] but clearly, a simple tool, usable at the winery, could be immersed in the casks to monitor batches of wines and warn of microbial risk levels”, explains David Jacob, technical director of Bordeaux firm Cordouan Technologies which specialises in the characterisation of nanomaterials.

His project, which has received €127,000 in grants from FranceAgriMer out of a total budget of €324,000, aims to design and endorse through experience, a tool that can differentiate between Brettanomycesbruxellensis spoilage yeast and other micro-organisms in wine. The laser probe uses Dynamic Light Scattering technology which detects the hallmark size of suspended particles in the solution. An algorithm then indicates the level of presence of each particle, and enables sensory deviations to be corrected in advance.

Warning thresholds

The complexity of the project is not so much in the technology itself as in the interpretation of the data. Establishing warning thresholds will take time”, claims Jacob. Winemaking expertise will be provided by the Bordeaux technology transfer department Microflora at the Vine & Wine Science Institute (ISVV). Cordouan Technologies’ task will then be to build a prototype of the probe.

The project emerged in 2015 during meetings between the competitive cluster Route du Laser and members of the Innovin cluster, with technology on the side offering a potential solution for issues encountered on the other. “Discussions between the two revealed that monitoring and characterising micro-organisms in wine during the maturation phase had not been completely resolved”, adds Jacob, who hopes to have solved the issue before the end of the project in March 2019. 

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