Oxygen Consumption in South African Sauvignon Blanc Wines: Role of Glutathione, Sulphur Dioxide and Certain Phenolics

  • D. Fracassetti Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences, Universit√† degli Studi di Milano, Via G. Celoria 2, 20133 Milano, Italy
  • C. Coetzee Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University, Victoria Street, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • A. Vanzo Central Laboratory, Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, Hacquetova 17, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • D. Ballabio Milano Chemometrics and QSAR Research Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, P.za della Scienza, 1, 20126 Milano, Italy
  • W.J. du Toit Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University, Victoria Street, Stellenbosch, South Africa


The aim of this research was to investigate the interaction between sulphur dioxide, glutathione (GSH) and
certain phenols in the presence of oxygen in a synthetic wine and in clarified Sauvignon blanc wine. In this
study, the clarified wine, from which most of the phenols had been removed, was compared to synthetic
wine solution, with both mediums being enriched with caffeic acid to investigate the effect of different levels
of sulphur dioxide and GSH on oxygen consumption. Moreover, thirteen young South African Sauvignon
blanc wines with different levels of sulphur dioxide were oxygenated, and the oxygen consumption and
phenolic and colour changes were monitored over time. The results show that oxygen consumption was
influenced greatly by the presence of sulphur dioxide and, to a lesser extent, by the presence of GSH,
with both compounds decreasing during the course of the experiment. During oxidation, an increase
was observed in glutathionyl caffeic acid, as well as in oxidised glutathione (GSSG); however, this did
not coincide with the percentage decrease in GSH. Oxidation further led to an increase in absorbance
measurements at 420 and 440 nm (yellow-orange colour), which were reduced by the presence of SO2. A
large variation was also observed in the oxygen consumption of the young wines, with this rate increasing
with an increase in SO2 concentration. Positive correlations were also observed between oxygen, SO2, GSH
and Cu concentrations, which were again negatively correlated with absorbance at 420 and 440 nm and
GSSG concentrations.


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