Martí-Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme


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Supervisor name and surname:

Fernando Zamora Marín

Supervisor email:

Supervisor short biography

Co-supervisor name and surname:

Mariona Gil Cortiella

Co-supervisor email:

Co-supervisor institution:

Universidad Autónoma de Chile

Co-supervisor short biography

PhD programme:

Oenology and Biotechnology

Title of the research project:

Effect of laccases on the sensoriality, quality, and healthiness of wines. Characterization of the products resulting from the activity of laccases on polyphenols and other compounds

Description of the research project:

This project aims to advance on the knowledge about the implications of laccase enzyme activity in wine composition and quality. Laccase is a multi-copper oxidase (MCOs) that belongs to a protein superfamily of enzymes which oxidize the substrate at a mononuclear copper center T1. This enzyme is released by the fungi Botrytis cinerea when grows in grape berries. This fungal disease, known as grey rot is probably the worst plague that affects grape production.

This enzyme causes great problems of color originating browning in white wines and oxidasic haze in red wines because it oxidizes phenolic compounds. This fungal disease represents each year great economic losses for wine industry.

The main objective of this project is deeping on the knowledge about this enzyme in order to mitigate the undesirable action that laccase exert in the oenological industry, enabling a reduction in the use of SO2. It is also aimed to evaluate the possible favorable effects that laccase can exert on wine under the point of view of quality (reduction of astringency in red wines, hyperoxidation to stabilize the color of white wines).

This project will first address the isolation and purification of laccase from Botrytis cinerea to obtain enough amount for the following objectives. Next, the characterization of the laccase of Botrytis cinerea will be performed. To do this, their molecular masses and isoelectric points will be determined by electrophoretic techniques, and their kinetic characteristics will be determined according to the Michaelis-Menten model using syringaldazine as the substrate of the reaction and also developing another chemical model to reproduce wine browning in a synthetic medium.

Subsequently, the study of the kinetics of the reaction of laccase with various substrates of interest will be performed by determining the kinetics of oxygen consumption in real grape juice and also in a model medium.

Finally, the inhibitory effect on laccase of enological tannins and glutathione as possible alternatives to reduce sulfur dioxide doses will be studied.

Highly desirable attributes of the ideal candidate

* Demonstrated previous experience in one or more of the following topics: wine analysis, research in oenology
* Hold a Master degree, or equivalent, in: oenology, agriculture or food science
* Language skills: English and Spanish
* Other skills: experience in working in a vineyard and winery
* Personality traits: communicative, hard-working, science – driven, curious

Ethics: This project doesn’t involve ethical aspects

Workplace Location: Campus Sescelades, Tarragona

Gross anual salary:

27103.20 €


Full time

Working hours:

37.5 hours a week

Earliest expected start date:

14 February 2022

European union This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 945413