, Volume 35, Issue 7, pp 1167-1178
Date: 17 Feb 2012

Modeling oxygen dissolution and biological uptake during pulse oxygen additions in oenological fermentations

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Abstract

Discrete oxygen additions during oenological fermentations can have beneficial effects both on yeast performance and on the resulting wine quality. However, the amount and time of the additions must be carefully chosen to avoid detrimental effects. So far, most oxygen additions are carried out empirically, since the oxygen dynamics in the fermenting must are not completely understood. To efficiently manage oxygen dosage, we developed a mass balance model of the kinetics of oxygen dissolution and biological uptake during wine fermentation on a laboratory scale. Model calibration was carried out employing a novel dynamic desorption–absorption cycle based on two optical sensors able to generate enough experimental data for the precise determination of oxygen uptake and volumetric mass transfer coefficients. A useful system for estimating the oxygen solubility in defined medium and musts was also developed and incorporated into the mass balance model. Results indicated that several factors, such as the fermentation phase, wine composition, mixing and carbon dioxide concentration, must be considered when performing oxygen addition during oenological fermentations. The present model will help develop better oxygen addition policies in wine fermentations on an industrial scale.