Zirconium dioxide for protein stabilization during fermentation

A study conducted by Australian and Italian researchers has explored the protein removal properties of zirconium dioxide and the possibility of utilizing it in the treatment of wine juices in order to reduce the need for bentonite to stabilize proteins in white wines. In the tests, zirconia pellets enclosed in a metallic cage were added on the second day to fermenting juices. After 48 hours, the protein content of the juices was significantly reduced and the resulting wines were heat stable. Test results showed reductions in concentration of some mineral elements and tartaric acid and increases in pH in the resulting wines from the zirconia-treated juices.
Original article: M. Lucchetta, K. F. Pocock, E. J. Waters, and M. Marangon. Use of Zirconium Dioxide during Fermentation as an Alternative to Protein Fining with Bentonite for White Wines Am. J. Enol. Vitic. September 2013 64:400-404

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