New yeast strains promise to protect wine from hydrogen sulfide

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Yeast

California-based Phyterra Yeast has launched three yeast strains to prevent sensory and spoilage problems in wine caused by the formation of hydrogen sulfide during fermentation.

Emitted naturally during fermentation, hydrogen sulfide is a gas that has a distinctive rotten egg smell. It is a widespread problem in winemaking and approaches to removing or reducing the gas from wine can be expensive, time-consuming and damaging to product quality, according to Phyterra Yeast.

To help winemakers protect themselves from hydrogen sulfide, the subsidiary of Vancouver-based Functional Technologies has launched Napa-M, Napa-S, and California Red.

New solution

They are the first three strains to be developed by the company from its proprietary hydrogen sulfide-reducing wine yeast. The strains cannot form hydrogen sulfide during the fermentation phase and therefore work as a preventative solution to the problems posed by the gas.

Phyterra Yeast said the yeasts require no changes to existing production processes. Importantly, there are also no negative effects on the quality of wine, according to the company.

“Wineries have long been trying to solve hydrogen sulfide problems and we’re pleased to have pushed forward to deliver this unique preventative solution,”​ said Garth Greenham, president and COO of Functional Technologies.

The proprietary technology behind the new strains was developed after a decade of research by Professor Linda Bisson from the Viticulture and Enology Department at the University of California Davis. The wine industry, led by the American Vineyard Foundation, provided financial support for the research.

Future plans

The hydrogen sulfide-reducing wine yeast is platform-based and can be available to any strain of yeast. Greenham said Functional Technologies now plans to provide​hydrogen sulfide reduction in all its wine yeast strains.

In addition to the wine yeast marketplace, Phyterra Yeast said there are significant market opportunities for hydrogen sulfide reduction in other fermented products.

The company is looking to establish industry partnerships to fully exploit the potential of the technology.

Phyterra Yeast has contracted a North American fermentation facility to supply its new yeast strains while it works to secure its own production capabilities.

Related topics Suppliers Cultures, enzymes, yeast

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