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article imageGenetic research produces 'allergy free' wines

By Tim Sandle     Jul 13, 2012 in Science
Canadian scientists have linked the reasons that some people have allergies to wine to the yeast used to produce the wine. By using genetic engineering, the scientists have developed a strain of yeast which is capable of producing allergy free wine.
For some people, a single glass of wine can trigger a headache or a rash. This is because a sizable proportion of the population are allergic to certain compounds in wine. Allergies to wine are caused by a variety of factors including yeast, sulphites, grapes or phenol. With allergies to yeast, this seems to be more a problem when vulnerable people drink young wines compared with older wines.
According to a research brief issued by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, a team of researchers at UBC's Wine Research Center, funded by Canadian government, have developed a solution the allergic reaction some people have to wine. The scientists have developed a strain of yeast that prevents allergic reactions from occurring (that is producing a wine that is “hypoallergenic”). The yeast was produced from genetic engineering.
The research was initiated by Hennie J. J. van Vuuren, who also suffers from a wine allergy. In total, the development of the new yeast, has taken fifteen years.
The studies have been so successful that the yeast has begun to be used in some vintages produced in Canada and the United States. In light of this, the Toronto Sun has noted this means “Good news for wine lovers”.
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