Aims: Describe and compare some characteristics, such as molecular weight (MW) distribution and surface charge density of commercial protein fining agents and to enhance the understanding of their effect on wine chemical and sensory characteristics.
Methods and results: Protein (casein, potassium caseinate and gelatine) MW distribution was characterised by electrophoresis. These proteins were added to a red and a white wine, in order to evaluate its effect on colour, phenolic compounds and sensory attributes.
Conclusion: A band at 30.0 kDa characterised casein and potassium caseinate. Gelatines showed polydispersion on the MW distribution, gelatine GSQ on the higher MW (> 43.0 kDa) and gelatine GL on the lower MW (< 43.0 kDa). Despite the fact that casein and potassium caseinate had similar MW distribution, casein decreased essentially the monomeric ((+) - catechin and (-) - epicatechin) while the potassium caseinate showed a lower influence on these compounds. Also, among the two gelatines used, a different behaviour was observed. The gelatine characterised by a polydispersion below 43.0 kDa depleted more the polymeric tannin fractions than the gelatine characterised by a polydispersion above 43.0 kDa. That gelatine has also decreased colour intensity and coloured anthocyanins of red wine but the hue remains unchanged. Addition of fining agents did not affect greatly the concentration of monomeric anthocyanins. Sensory analysis showed that wines fined with the different proteins presented distinct characteristics.
Significance and impact of study: The knowledge of the physico-chemical characteristics, such as MW distribution and surface charge density, is important for wine fining optimisation and consequently for the wine quality.
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