New technology ‘shines a light’ on smoke taint damage

RD&A News | April 2021
12 Apr 2021
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A new research project is investigating whether a single drop of grape juice or wine placed on a sensor can detect smoke taint.

The Wine Australia-supported Science and Innovation Award winner Dr Cheryl Suwen Law is using nanofabrication techniques to help winemakers and growers know when their grapes have been tainted by bushfire smoke – and to what extent.

‘The aim of my project is to provide growers and winemakers with a tailored ‘lab-on-a-chip’ sensing technology for rapid detection and quantification of smoke exposure in grape, grape juice and wine’, said Dr Suwen Law, a Research Associate with the University of Adelaide’s School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials.

Dr Cheryl Suwen Law, the recipient of the Wine Australia-supported Science and Innovation Award 2021

Dr Suwen Law said the technology could be used early on in production, allowing timely decision-making around grape harvest and winemaking.

‘Knowing earlier, rather than later, that fruit is tainted will give growers and winemakers a wider choice of options on how to proceed.’

The benefit of this technology – which works by shining a beam of light through a drop of juice placed on a sensor – is the ability to provide results on the spot.

‘These sensors will enable the sector to make more informed decisions during growing seasons affected by bushfires, delivering financial benefit to industry.’

Dr Suwen Law is passionate about her field of chemical engineering and is looking forward to exploring it more as a Science and Innovation Award winner.

‘Chemical engineering is diverse and far-reaching, focusing on the ways raw materials are changed into useful and commercial end products.

‘I love researching raw materials and their properties as well as designing, developing and evaluating equipment and operating processes.

‘This latest research project is exciting, because it advances our fundamental understanding on the sensing performance of photonic and plasmonic structures and applies that knowledge to a practical application.


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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.