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Assessing the Potential Content of Ethyl Carbamate in White, Red, and Rosé Wines as a Key Factor for Pursuing Urea Degradation by Purified Acid Urease

Cerreti, Martina, Fidaleo, Marcello, Benucci, Ilaria, Liburdi, Katia, Tamborra, Pasquale, Moresi, Mauro
Journal of food science 2016 v.81 no.7 pp. C1603
Lactobacillus fermentum, ammonia, bottling, enzymatic treatment, ethyl carbamate, hydrolysis, urea, urease, wines, Italy
The ethyl carbamate (EC) content of a wine after a given temperature‐time storage was theoretically predicted from the potential concentration of ethyl carbamate (PEC), as determined via an accelerated EC formation test. Such information was used to decide whether an enzymatic treatment was needed to reduce the wine urea level before bottling/aging. To this end, 6 white, red, and rosé wines, manufactured in Italy as such or enriched with urea, were tested for their PEC content either before or after enzymatic treatment using a purified acid urease preparation derived from Lactobacillus fermentum. The treatment was severely affected by the total phenolic content (TP) of the wine, the estimated pseudo‐first‐order kinetic rate constant for NH₃ formation reducing by a factor of approximately 2000 as the TP increased from 0 to 1.64 g L‐¹. Such a sensitivity to TP was by far greater than that pertaining to a killed cell‐based enzyme preparation used previously. Urea hydrolysis was successful at reducing EC concentration in wines with low levels of TP and other EC precursors.