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Great news! B.C. scientists discover new yeast strain to reduce wine headaches

on 22/02/11 at 11:16 am


A new strain of wine yeast developed at the University of British Columbia produces fewer amines, chemicals in red wine and Chardonnay that produce off flavours and trigger headaches, hypertension and migraines in many people.

Food biotechnologist Hennie van Vuuren spent eight years in research and another seven years to test his genetically modified yeast, dedicating much of his life’s work as a scientist to the project.

“About 30% of the people in the world are sensitive to biogenic amines like histamines,” said van Vuuren. “The reason I did this is that I myself get severe headaches if I drink wines with these bioamines in the them.”

Health Canada, Environment Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have approved Malolactic yeast, known by the trade name ML01, for commercial use. Another major wine producing nation, South Africa, has also declared ML01 safe and van Vuuren is currently seeking approvals from European authorities.

Production and sale of the yeast is licensed to the Lesaffre Yeast Corp., which pays a royalty to UBC.

“This is the first organism that has been improved (through genetic engineering) where consumers get the benefit and not the corporate producers,” Mr. van Vuuren said.

{Full story via National Post}

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