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European Food Research and Technology

, Volume 225, Issue 5–6, pp 653–663 | Cite as

Development and evaluation of alternative processes for sterilization and deodorization of cork barks and natural cork stoppers

  • Panagiotis Vlachos
  • Adamantia Kampioti
  • Michael KornarosEmail author
  • Gerasimos Lyberatos
Original Paper

Abstract

Cork taint, one of the most known off-flavours in wine, is usually attributed to the presence of the aromatic compound 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (2,4,6-TCA) in cork stoppers made from the bark of the cork oak, Quercus suber. There are many major chemical/biochemical pathways through which 2,4,6-TCA can be formed during cork production. The estimated incidence of cork-tainted wine bottles ranges from 2–to 7%, costing global wine industry approximately US$ 10 billion annually. During this study, a laboratory-scale system was designed and constructed, to efficiently treat cork bark and stopper samples using ozone and/or other sterilizing gases, such as steam, via sequential application of pulsed vacuum–pressure cycles. The developed physicochemical processes were studied and evaluated in order to achieve both sterilization conditions and 2,4,6-TCA removal without affecting the mechanical and bottling properties of cork. According to the results, the application of ozone alone seems to be a promising treatment method for cork barks. However, the pulsed treatment ensures both sufficient removal (99%) of both bacteria and moulds from cork stoppers when combined with ozone or steam and satisfactory deodorization of cork stoppers achieving high percentages (90%) of 2,4,6-TCA removal when combined with steam. The operating cost of each alternative process (plain or pulsed, with or without ozone and/or steam) was estimated and compared, in laboratory scale, for the selection of the most efficient process, taking into account technicoeconomical aspects.

Keywords

Wine Cork stoppers Cork barks Cork taint 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole Sterilization Deodorization 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work has been supported by the EU “Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources” program: “Innovation in the process of cork production for the elimination of odours responsible for cork taint”, INNOCUOUS project (QLK1-CT-2002-01678).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Panagiotis Vlachos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Adamantia Kampioti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Kornaros
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gerasimos Lyberatos
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Biochemical Engineering & Environmental TechnologyDepartment of Chemical Engineering, University of PatrasPatrasGreece
  2. 2.Institute of Chemical Engineering and High Temperature Chemical Processes (FORTH/ICE-HT)PatrasGreece

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